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Recent Richmond car thefts linked to drive-by shootings, police say

Posted at 5:56 PM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 18:33:40-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond detectives are investigating the connection of a rash of stolen vehicles to recent drive-by shootings in the city.

Reports of car thefts have risen by 136 percent from July to August, according to First Police Precinct Captain Rick Edwards.

“We went from 11 [stolen vehicles] in July to 26 in August and a vast majority were unlocked with keys,” Edwards explained.

The rash of crimes have occurred in Sector 112, which includes the communities of Ancarrow's Landing, Belle Isle, Blackwell, Brown's Island, Central Office, Gambles Hill, Hillside Court, Manchester, Oak Grove and Old Town Manchester.

There are several methods that criminals are taking advantage of careless drivers.

“In some cases folks will leave the cars running with the fob in the pocket thinking the car was safe and you can’t drive off with the car. But, you can,” Edwards said.

Others are have an extra set of keys in the glove box, while some drivers have left the keys inside the ignition of an idle vehicle.

However, Capt. Edwards said many of the stolen cars are being used as a way to facilitate drive-by shootings.

“This isn’t just a property crime. It could turn into a very serious crime against a person,” he stated. “Someone involved in a drive-by shooting isn’t going to use a car that’s linked back to them.”

Police wouldn’t specify which stolen vehicles they believe are connected to recent shootings. However, Edwards warns everyone to do their part and lock their car.

“The thieves are out the just looking for you to slip up and leave that car running and they’ll take advantage of it,” Edwards said.

Megan Wilkerson lives in Old Town Manchester, which has seen eight of the recent thefts. Her apartment complex emailed residents to remind them to lock their car doors.

“There's a lot going on now. It’s definitely safer than what it used to be,” she recalled. “I’m pretty cautious making sure all my doors are always locked. I’m pretty aware of my surroundings and what’s going on.”

Both Wilkerson and Edwards said the influx in new apartment complexes in an urban setting and younger adults moving in could have contributed to running vehicles left unattended.

“There’s been a lot of younger people who didn’t grow up in Richmond,” Wilkerson said. “With all the apartments and things being a little bit more up and coming people are getting more comfortable.”

The recent reported car thefts in Sector 112 are:

  • 2500 block of East Cary Street
  • 1400 block of Perry Street
  • 500 block of Everett Street
  • 500 block of Hull Street
  • 1500 block of Dock Street
  • 1200 block of Semmes Avenue
  • 2000 block of Maury Street
  • 500 block of Everett Street
  • 200 block of West 9th Street
  • 500 block of West 7th Street
  • 1200 block of Everett Street
  • 1100 block of Jefferson Davis Highway
  • 800 block of Hull Street
  • 2500 block of East Cary Street
  • 1200 block of East Cary Street
  • 300 block of Stockton Street
  • 2000 block of Maury Street
  • 500 block of Porter Street
  • 700 block of Stockton Street
  • 700 block of East 20th Street
  • 500 block of Bainbridge Street
  • 1100 block of Jefferson Davis Highway
  • 2100 block of Harwood Street
  • 600 block of East 18th Street
  • 1900 block of East Cary Street/20th Street
  • 900 block of McDonough Street

If you have information that could help detectives, call Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000 or submit a tip online at The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones may also be used. All three Crime Stoppers methods of contact are anonymous.