On April 10 at 2 p.m., a patrol officer was entering a gas station on Smallwood Drive in Waldorf when he noticed a man running after a vehicle leaving the parking lot, yelling that his car had just been stolen. The officer observed the vehicle enter a nearby neighborhood. The officer, with the assistance of two other officers who were in the area, attempted to stop the stolen car, but the driver fled several miles before finally stopping in the roadway. The driver, Daniel Michael Harris, 42, of Waldorf, was arrested without further incident and was charged with theft, unauthorized use of a vehicle and other related charges. Investigation revealed the vehicle had been left running with the doors unlocked. On April 11, a judge ordered Harris to be held at the Charles County Detention Center without bond.
Car thefts are often crimes of opportunity; unfortunately, car thieves are learning how to defeat newer keyless systems as well. The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is reminding drivers to lock their cars at all times and do not leave them running. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, additional safety measures include:
- Do not leave keys, key fobs, or valet keys in your vehicle.
- Ensure that your vehicle is turned off when leaving it unattended.
- Be sure to read your owner’s manual carefully and familiarize yourself with how to operate your vehicle’s keyless ignition system properly.
- Keep information, such as the make, model, model year, license plate and VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) easily accessible in the event your vehicle is stolen.
For more information relating to auto-theft prevention and safety, you may also visit the Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council or their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/MVTPC/ Officer Thompson is investigating.
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