Deputies: Teen stole cars with keys inside

18-year-old arrested in Ponte Vedra car thefts

Published On: Feb 12 2013 11:18:25 AM EST   Updated On: Feb 12 2013 11:21:19 AM EST
PONTE VEDRA, Fla. -

An 18-year-old Ponte Vedra man was arrested Monday afternoon on two counts each of grand theft auto, burglary and grand theft charges.

Christian Hartley is accused of taking a 2007 Saab from a 61-year-old Fairway Park Boulevard woman that was discovered missing New Year's Day.

The car was recovered in a parking lot in the 600 block of Ponte Vedra Boulevard early that same evening with some items inside reported stolen, deputies said.

Hartley is also charged with taking a 2002 Ford Escape from a 54-year-old Ponte Vedra Colony Circle woman between Feb. 4 and 5.

A short time after the vehicle was reported stolen, it was also recovered in the same parking lot as before with some of the items inside missing.

Detectives identified Hartley as a possible suspect. They said at first he denied being involved in the two thefts. Detectives said they obtained additional evidence that linked Hartley to the two auto thefts, and they said he was again questioned and admitted to the thefts when he was "car hopping" and found the two vehicles unlocked with keys inside.

Hartley remains in the St. Johns County Jail with bail set at $30,000.