‘Do the safe thing’: Owner issues warning after thieves crash SUV, injuring 5 – WSOC Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A Charlotte man said an easy mistake cost him his SUV Thursday night and now, he is warning others so they do not make the same mistake he did. 

Channel 9 was there Friday morning when a stolen Jeep crashed into another car in northwest Charlotte. 

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Police said they were able to quickly track down the owner of the Jeep, James Byrant. 

Byrant told Channel 9 he left the SUV unlocked outside the Shell Station at Rocky River Road and East WT Harris Boulevard Thursday night. Since he had a key fob, he thought it was OK to run inside the store. 

Byrant said since the fob was with him and he was close to the jeep, thieves were able to use his push-button ignition, start it, and drive away. 

“They watched me as I was going into the store and then turned around and stole my car,” James Byrant said. “Always lock your car when you get out the car. Always. Turn it off. Do the safe thing.” 

He said the suspects ripped out all the GPS tracking devices in the car, put gas in the car, but never turned the car off because it wouldn’t turn back on. 

[ALSO READ: Women, children injured after fleeing teens crash stolen SUV at St. Louis airport]

Five people were hurt in Friday morning’s crash.

No arrests have been made. 

This is not the only kind of trouble you can run into with keyless ignitions. It could be easy to leave your key fob in the house and drive off without it. 

A lot of cars have a warning system in place. They will chime if you walk away with the key fob while the engine is running. 


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