A man has been arrested and charged with theft and unauthorized use of a vehicle after stealing a car from a gas station parking lot in Waldorf, MD. The incident occurred on April 10, when a patrol officer noticed a man running after a vehicle leaving the gas station on Smallwood Drive, yelling that his car had just been stolen.
With the assistance of two other officers in the area, the officer attempted to stop the stolen car, but the driver fled several miles before finally stopping in the roadway. The driver, identified as 42-year-old Daniel Michael Harris of Waldorf, was arrested without incident.
Investigation revealed that the vehicle had been left running with the doors unlocked, allowing the theft to occur. 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, and the Charles County Sheriff’s Office is reminding drivers to take precautions to prevent auto theft. This includes locking cars at all times and not leaving them running. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides additional safety measures, such as not leaving keys, key fobs, or valet keys in the vehicle, ensuring that the vehicle is turned off when leaving it unattended and familiarizing oneself with how to operate the vehicle’s keyless ignition system properly. It is also essential to keep information such as the make, model, model year, license plate, and VIN easily accessible in the event of theft.
The Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council also provides auto-theft prevention and safety resources, including a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MVTPC/. The council is committed to reducing auto theft in Maryland by educating the public about prevention techniques and encouraging law enforcement to take proactive measures.
Officer Thompson is investigating the incident and reminds the public to report any suspicious activity or persons in their neighborhoods. The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is committed to protecting the community and preventing crime. By taking simple precautions, such as locking cars and not leaving them running, drivers can help reduce the risk of auto theft and keep their vehicles and possessions safe.