Photo provided by car owner, Erica Harvey.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Holiday thieves are in full force and one Jacksonville woman experienced it firsthand.
The interesting part is that the day after her car was stolen, she spotted it on the road.
Erica Harvey said she drove her car up to pump number seven at Raceway Gas Station on Golfair and I-95, but before she went inside, she did something she never does.
"I did the unthinkable. I left my car unlocked and the music playing and the keys still in the ignition," said Harvey.
It was seconds later when a woman ran into the gas station and told Harvey her car was gone.
"She said some young man just took off in your vehicle at pump seven and I froze," said Harvey.
Hours of agony and a police report later, Harvey decided to go out and look for her car. Except she actually saw it on the road; same car, same tag number. She said it was filled with young boys she described to be ages 12 to 17.
"They took off and I took off right behind them. They jumped in one lane, when they jumped, I jumped," Harvey said.
The chase went on and then the car made a stop.
"It was like three or four boys getting out of that car, then they stopped again on Pearl and let like two more out," said Harvey.
Harvey stayed on the car until she says the driver crashed it into a fence on 21st and Pearl Street.
"They took my car for a joy ride. I mean I just bought that car, I haven't even had the car for two months," she added.
The car is being repaired, but Harvey learned her lesson; especially after she was cited for leaving the keys in the ignition which cost her a 114 dollar ticket.
"Don't trust the people that are around you because you never know who's watching, one wrong move can cost you," said Harvey.
A JSO officer outside the gas station said officers have been executing zero tolerance for people leaving keys inside unattended vehicles after several cases have occurred.
Under Florida law, you can be cited 114 dollars for the violation.
First for you, make sure you always lock the doors of your car and hide any purchases or put them in the trunk, park in well lit areas, and never ever leave a purse or any valuable item in plain sight.
First Coast News