DES MOINES, Iowa — The victims continue to pile up. “My stomach dropped. I didn’t know what to do,” said Jake Marshall. Like many others during an arctic start to 2018, Marshall stepped inside his Des Moines home while his vehicle warmed up outside Tuesday evening around 9 pm. He said, “I honestly went outside and started it and I was no longer in the house for five minutes, not even.”
From midnight January 1st, to 5:00 am January 2nd, Des Moines police say seven vehicles were stolen while running unattended with keys in the ignition but it seems owners have yet to feel that having your car stolen outweighs the feeling of a warm vehicle. Since that report, eight more have been stolen. Sergeant Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department said, “The auto theft detectives are telling me today the we’ve had eight more cases come in today where the keys have been left in the vehicle and it had been left running.”
Car thieves also took off with Jake’s vehicle as the snow began to fall that night. “I went out there, I didn’t even believe it at first. I thought it was a joke and I went outside and found the car was gone,” he said. Once Jake realized it was a real car theft he did some detective work of his own. He followed the tracks in the snow. “It was crazy to follow my car around for 20 to 30 minutes knowing somebody else was in it trying to do whatever in it and I just wanted to stop them.” Parizek commended Jake for keeping his distance but helping the police. “He kept his cool and followed the tracks in the snow which is actually good detective work.”
As Jake followed he phoned the police as the suspects looked like they were eyeing another car theft near the Kum and Go along Keo Way. Jake said, “I was going to get out but cops told me not to get out in case they were armed.” Jake listened to those officers and the two juvenile suspects were apprehended. “The person responsible is the thief stealing the car but you can’t volunteer to be a victim and not hold some culpability,” said Parizek. A lesson Jake now hopes others will keep their ears open to. “If you go to start your cars, definitely do not leave it unlocked like I did,” he said.