SOUTH PORTLAND — South Portland Police Department has received a number of stolen motor vehicle reports in the past couple of weeks, but most owners reportedly have been making it too easy for the thieves.

According to a statement made by Christopher Todd of the South Portland Police Department, there have been a dozen car thefts since the beginning of the year.

“This particular ring, I’ll call it, that we’ve been dealing with for the past month, month and a half, is not something that happens all the time,” Todd said.

Reports have come from Redbank and Brick Hill area as well as Plaza 29 and 85 Western Ave. Multiple fast food restaurants have also been targeted.

When patrons leave their vehicles to go inside to get their food, that’s when valuables are stolen. According to a statement made by Todd, in all thefts, keys were left in the unlocked running vehicle.

“In every instance, the key had been left in the car and many the cars had actually been left running,” Todd said.

As of Feb. 23, two juveniles have been charged and the police are still investigating two other suspects. As for cars? Police have located all but three. The police are still investigating more reports of stolen vehicles that were left running and unattended.

According to a police department statement, “The department is asking people to be aware of your surroundings and call the South Portland Police Department if you see anything suspicious or feel uncomfortable. Make sure to lock your cars and take your keys with you. Never leave valuables in sight or in your car.”

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