Ohio – Lake County Sheriff Frank Leonbruno issued a warning to residents in a Facebook post Thursday telling them to be alert as car thefts continue to spike in the area.
Leonbruno referred to a release sent to residents Sept. 18 following the theft of six cars, which were stolen in a span of a weekend. According to the sheriff’s office, they were stolen from both homes and dealerships.
The warning comes as a woman reported being assaulted and having her car stolen among other recent incidents.
“Tuesday morning, a Laketran worker was confronted in the early morning hours by three young males. They demanded her car keys and assaulted her. Fortunately, she was able to get inside the building and the youths fled,” Leonbruno wrote in the post.
This isn’t happening in just Lake County, though. Many cities across northeast Ohio have seen an increase of carjacking, and police believe it’s the work of teenagers.
The Brunswick Police Department reported more than a dozen cars have been either stolen or broken into recently.
In Painesville Tuesday, police reported two people carjacked a driver at gunpoint. One of the suspects has been caught and other is still on the loose.
Authorities also say it isn’t just happening in the suburbs of Cleveland, but in the city itself, although many of the suspects have been arrested.
Police warn the car thieves come anywhere between 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Leonbruno said the common denominator between the carjackings is that many times, keys were left in the vehicle.
“Do not leave your vehicles unlocked at any time. Don’t leave your keys in vehicles. And, don’t leave your garage door openers easily available,” Leonbruno wrote.