Car thieves caught on camera; 2 arrested

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Brazen thieves stole two cars right out of a Northside family's driveway in Oceanway early Sunday morning and it was all caught on camera.

Their home is in Dunns Creek Plantation, which is right off Pulaski Road. The cars were recovered just a few hours later -- one near the family's home, the other one downtown.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has arrested two teenage suspects. But the victim told News4Jax he believes there's still another thief on the run.

Raymond Thayer said he and his wife take every precaution necessary to prevent things like this from happening. But he admits this one time he made a critical mistake that many can learn from. Thayer said he left the keys in the unlocked car before going inside for the evening.

Thayer told News4Jax it was really scary, walking outside to leave for work and realizing not one but both of his family's cars were stolen. But Thayer's surveillance camera captured it all.

In the video, someone gets out of a car on the street, walks toward the driveway around 6:35 a.m. With a cloth in his hand, the person opens the door to Thayer's 2015 Chrysler 300 and gets in. Seconds later, the car cranks up and the thief takes off.

“I think those kids were just going door to door, checking. I mean, because they went to at least two of my neighbors' houses and checked their doors, and they got to my house and I guess hit the jackpot,” said Thayer.

Just a few minutes after Thayer's car was stolen, the thieves came back for his wife's car.

Investigators used built-in GPS technology to recover the cars just a few hours later. They arrested Kaleb Palmer, 17, and Paul McCloud Jr., 15.

Law enforcement officials and News4Jax's crime and safety analyst said to always lock your vehicle to avoid becoming a victim.

“If we could simply ask individuals to remember to hit that little button as they walk into their house at night, it would solve a lot of the crime trends that we have,” said Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan, with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.

Thayer said a one-time slip-up allowed his family to become victims. He hopes the increased availability of technology will cut back on crimes like these and that police can find the other person or persons responsible.

“The only advice I can give them is (that) they need to straighten their lives out, because prison isn't a good place for young men,” Thayer said.

Anyone with information on who else might have been involved in these thefts is asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS. You can remain anonymous and receive a cash reward.

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