You just spent time in your happy place – your favorite mall or park – and you are ready to leave. Perhaps you have bags in your hand or a stroller to put away. When our items are safely stowed, we get in our car, put it in gear, and start to drive.
But a new trick is costing people their cars, and if a thief is reckless and disregards safety, it could cost a life, so take this warning seriously.
If you see a plastic bottle – water or cola – stuck between the fender of your car and the tire, walk away and call 911 immediately.
Thieves are placing plastic bottles between the frame and tire so the noise it makes when the car moves is so unsettling, you get out of the car to see what is wrong. Typically placed on the front passenger side tire, the bottle crunches and grinds so loudly that most people will panic and get out of the car without thinking – often leaving their keys in the ignition or valuables like cell phones and wallets in plain sight.
First reported in Limpopo, South Africa, this trick is the latest trend for criminals. Reports around the world and in the United States proves the strategy is working.
The potential carjacker sees a parked car they want. They place the water bottle against the wheel and wait to see how the driver will react. If the driver exits the vehicle to check the sound, the carjacker slips into the car and drives away.
Before you get into the car, take a few seconds to walk around the vehicle. If anything seems out of place, call 911 and alert the police to what you see. Then, return inside to wait for police to arrive.