DENVER — The Denver metro area has seen more than 10,000 reported auto theft cases over the last year, and health care workers say they are increasingly being targeted.
On Sunday, Mike Catura, a nurse at Post Acute Medical, became a victim himself.
"For like half a second you're like, 'Where's my car?' and then you're like, 'My car has been stolen,'" Catura said.
The car was stolen from the hospital's fenced-in parking lot.
"Hospital workers — we've been working through COVID to keep everybody safe, to take care of everybody when they're sick, and there's nothing worse than after a 12 1/2-hour shift you walk out and your car is gone. It's just a terrible feeling," Catura said.
Catura drove a 2002 Chevy Tahoe. He tells Denver7 that the car was found totaled near Crested Butte.
"It was going to run for another 100,000 miles. It was paid off and now, as everyone knows, it is the worst possible time to go and buy a car because it's so much more expensive," Catura said.
That's why Catura started his own GoFundMe, hoping to offset the cost of replacing his transportation.
Many other hospital staff and even patients have been victims of the same thieves in the last year. More than 70 cars have been stolen from six Denver hospital parking lots, according to a Denver Police Department crime map.
At hospitals, "there is a large volume of parked cars, especially at a location where it's an operation that is 24/7 and there are a lot of vehicles on sight," DPD spokesman Doug Schepman said.
As car thefts continue to soar throughout Colorado, DPD suggests keeping your car door locked, adding any sort of security measures you can, such as alarms and steering wheel locks, and to keep valuables out of sight.