ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. -- The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office released new photos demonstrating the extent of the damage done to a car after it's been stolen.
In 2018, more than 21,000 cars were stolen in Colorado. Almost 90 percent were recovered, but that's not the end of the heartache for car owners.
Photos from the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office show cars brimming with trash, extensive damage to the interior and drug paraphernalia instead.
Captain Jared Rowlison, with the Investigations Unit at the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, said stolen cars are almost always used to commit another crime. Additionally, thiefs often strip the cars for parts. Insurance companies usually total a stolen vehicle after it's been recovered.
"There are all sorts of horror stories of cars that are recovered that have been stolen," said Rowlinson.
The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office tracked the top counties for car thefts.
Denver County came in at No. 1 with 4,733 stolen, followed by Adams County at 3,118, Arapahoe County at 3,009, El Paso County at 2,869 and Jefferson County at 2,043.
Rowlinson said car owners can take four easy steps to make sure their car stays safe -- lock car doors, don't leave keys in car, don't leave valuables in car and don't puff.