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Car thieves target vehicles at Port Saint Lucie gas stations

Posted at 7:16 PM, Jan 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-05 19:17:21-05
Daniel Marcella says his normal morning routine at this Race Trac gas station on Port St. Lucie Boulevard turned out to be his undoing. 
“Just a normal day, I do it every morning. I let the car run, jump into the store 2 to 3 minutes, get my coffee.”

Little did he know, as surveillance video from the gas station shows, a thief was lurking. 

In it, you can see a man get out of a vehicle. He then goes inside the store for a brief second before walking out, hoping into Daniel’s car, and eventually driving away. 

“I thought I might have parked it somewhere else, but then I realized a sinking feeling in my stomach that my car was gone,” said Daniel.

Daniel wasn’t the only victim Friday morning. 

Police say less than a half hour earlier and just 5 miles away, a thief took off with another car at a 7-Eleven gas station on St. Lucie West Boulevard. 

That driver also left their car running.

“I think they’re definitely related, especially since the time frame from which it happened.”

Port Saint Lucie Assistant Police Chief Richard Del Toro says it’s simply a crime of opportunity. 

“It was cold today, people leaving their vehicles running, they didn’t want to turn them off.”

The bottom line - don’t give thieves that chance. 

“Always turn your vehicle off,” Del Toro says. “Lock your vehicle when you’re going into stores. It took a second for this to happen.” 

It’s advice that Daniel is taking to heart. 

“I do it every morning, but now I guess I’m going to have to take extra precautions from now on. I didn’t think it would ever happen to me, but I guess every dog has their day.” 

Police say in both cases the suspect was wearing a hoodie and riding in a white or silver vehicle. 
This all happened early Friday morning before 6. 
If you have any information, you’re asked to call police.