KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- A rash of car thefts this morning has one victim sending out a warning to others - but she's not warning you about the thieves.
She says she was the victim of a crime and then police gave her a ticket for leaving her car running unattended.
Marcheta Banda is still shocked about the whole thing. She says her apartment parking lot is busy in the morning, lots of people going to work, and it's just off a fairly busy road, Meadowlark in Kansas City, KS. She started her car and then went back inside, because she realized she forgot her coffee.
When she came outside, her car was gone.
"They were good at it, they've done it before," Banda said. When she called the cops, they said officers were already in the area. Police confirm three cars were stolen in that two mile radius Thursday morning, and that all of the victims left their keys in the car.
"It's unattended so it's a crime of opportunity," said Brittanie Pruitt with KCK Police. "We need to let citizens know it is against the law, they can receive a ticket."
"When someone steals a car we don't know what they'll do with the car. They could potentially commit crimes, we don't know, so we need to make sure everyone secures their car, don't leave them running," said Pruitt.
Banda found out it's a $55 ticket to leave your car running unattended in KCK. She says it felt a little like being kicked while she was already down, but she hopes others learn from her mistake.
Most cities in the metro have similar unattended running car laws, and in some areas fines run as high $85.
In case you can help with information about the stolen cars, Banda's was a 2006 burgundy Nissan Altima, and her neighbors car was a red 2000 Toyota Camry. Call police or the TIPS hotline (816-474-TIPS) if you can help.