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Carjacking and car theft victims speak out

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 10:15 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – According to the Insurance Information Institute, a car is stolen about every 40 seconds in the U.S.

The Twin Cities area has seen an increase in thefts and carjacking within the last year.

The problem hasn’t missed Rochester.

Rochester Police Department said there have been 13 car thefts between this month and last month. It reports 24 car thefts during this same time last year.

“In the city of Rochester, we have very good luck finding those vehicles,” said Capt. Aaron Penning.

He advises people to put their belongings in their trunks, park in well-lit areas, and be aware of their surroundings.

“When we look at the vehicle thefts itself, we’ve talked to people about leaving them running,” Penning said. “A running, unlocked vehicle with the keys in the ignition is very tempting for someone.”

A carjacking victim from Minneapolis said she was victimized while she was in her running car. The incident happened last week.

“I was warming my car up, because it was a cold Minnesota night,” she said.

The woman asked us not to name her for safety reasons.

“A car drove up next to me and some kids, some pretty young kids, came out and opened my doors and said if I didn’t give up my car, that they would kill me and that they had a gun,” she said.

What happened next left the woman having to recover, emotionally and physically.

“They proceeded to pretty much rip me out of my car and beat me up,” she said.

The suspects left her with a black eye. Her phone was also with the stolen car.

“Thankfully about 45 minutes later, we were able to retrieve the phone and the car. The police were,” she said.

Next, there’s Mankato Resident Tyller Freerksen, a car theft victim

“We were trying to sell it. Someone came by taking it for a test drive, left a car behind as collateral. Turns out that car was stolen as well,” he said.

This situation happened in August and the car was found 12 days later.

“With about 4,000 dollars worth of damage done to it. They had spray-painted the wheels. spray-painted the lights. Broke the back window and messed up the motor even more,” he said.

All-State Insurance recommends documenting the license plate, make, model, and year of your car, as well as the VIN number. These suggestions can help law enforcement find the car easier.

Freerksen said his family was selling the car because of financial issues, so having it stolen, and then damaged made things worse

“We’re trying to sell it to someone that can fix it up. It’s just been a complete hassle,” he said.

Despite what happened to the woman who was a carjacking victim, she still has compassion for the suspects hoping that they make better decisions in the future. She said moving forward, she won’t sit and warm up her car anymore and has advice for others to avoid ending up in her shoes.

“Really Just be aware, be alert. If you can, walk with another person,” she said.

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