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St. Augustine police seek for well-dressed car thief

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Apologetic and dressed nicely is how one St. Augustine woman described a man she believes was trying to steal her car.

Jane Edney said she parked her car in a metered parking spot Tuesday, and when she came back to put a few more quarters in the meter, she found a man in the car under the steering column.

She said the man made her think it was an honest mistake, but now she's second-guessing herself.

Edney said the greatest mistake she made was not locking her car. But she said the whole thing happened in the middle of the day on a very busy street and said when she did ask him why he was in the car, he told her he thought it was his car.

"(I usually lock my car), but when you have a 7-year-old in one hand and a bunch of quarters in the other, you just don't," Edney said.

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Edney said she is considering this mistake a lesson learned, the hard way.

"It was unexpected because it was on a street that's busy, you don't expect anyone to do anything to anyone there," Edney said.

Edney said she filled the meter with money and left her car to go for a walk at the marina nearby. After an hour she realized that it was time to feed the meter again. But when she got back, she saw the man kneeling down under her steering column.

"He stood right here and looked me in the eye and apologized profusely. He said he thought it was his car, that he had made a mistake, and he didn't just take off and run like you'd expect, so I forgave him because I believed what he said," Edney said.

When she got home, she realized that he had pulled down the lever that adjusts the steering wheel, and she believes that he was trying to hot-wire the car.

"He wasn't like you'd expect a car thief to be. He was a very nice-looking man, very well dressed, very clean cut," Edney said.

"That's really different from what I read in reports for car burglaries and such. But yeah, you're not going to be so defensive against a guy who's dressed up a bit and looks nice and is very apologetic. But here's an opportunity that he's found and he's trying to make the best of it," St. Augustine Police Department spokesman Mark Samson said.

After the attempted robbery, police are once again trying to remind citizens how important it is to keep their car doors locked, always.

Police are also asking anyone with information about the crime to call the St. Augustine Police Department at 904-825-1070.