DENVER — Car thefts are becoming far too common in Colorado, up nearly 30 percent in 2015 from 2014.
Almost 15,000 vehicles were stolen in Colorado in 2015.
The trend doesn’t appear likely to change anytime soon. According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, there have been about 1,500 more auto thefts reported this year compared to the same time in 2015.
Aurora resident Sara O’Reily is one of those victims. Her Subaru was stolen outside her home two weeks ago.
“They must have rolled it away in neutral because I didn’t hear a thing,” she said. “I dropped my lunch and collapsed to the ground. I was heartbroken. I put a lot of effort and time into customizing that car to make it mine.”
Those customizations included tinted windows, new rims and several personal touches such as orange vinyl inside and orange lug nuts on the tires.
“Orange is my favorite color,” O’Reily said.
Those small changes carried a big price tag.
“It’s a disturbing trend,” said Carole Walker with the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.
Walker said many cars are being stolen to commit other crimes.
“When you’re going to commit a crime or you’re in a drug ring, are you going to do it with your own car? Often times that stolen vehicles is the getaway car,” she said.
Colorado car dealerships have also been hit, especially mom and pop shops like the one Alex Makarov owns. He had two cars stolen last month just days apart.
“I couldn’t believe it. How could that happen? I just had one and then another one gets taken,” he said.
The thieves were not deterred by wheel locks or even steering clubs, measures Makarov thought would keep his cars safe.
O’Reily did learn some good news about her stolen Subaru on Wednesday. It was found, but it is almost recognizable.
The car, even the orange inside, had been painted. The ignition had also been ripped out.
“There were condoms inside, liquor bottles. It was just so dirty. It’s not my car at all. I don’t want it back. I want nothing to do with it. I want to give it to insurance and I want to be paid out,” she said.
O’Reily is hopeful the thief will be caught because she found a man’s passport in the car, but she has yet to talk to the Aurora Police Department.
She called to let them know the vehicle had been found and taken to an impound lot, but they have yet to return her call.