HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)–Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin has had enough of the stolen cars.
So on Thursday afternoon, he got everyone together: state police, regional police, the Department of Children and Families, the juvenile court system, and prosecutors, and they put their heads together to try and stop the problem.
Cars are being stolen throughout the Hartford area, from Avon in Simsbury to West Hartford and East Hartford, with many ending up in Hartford. It’s happening almost nightly.
“It woke me up out of bed,” said Chuck Montgomery.
One person was hurt, three vehicles trashed along with two properties when thieves drove a stolen car into Chuck Montgomery’s yard Saturday morning.
“it just infuriates me to know that this is a repetitive problem.”
53 cars have been stolen in the Hartford area in recent weeks, and 38 of them had keys in the ignition.
While Montgomery is stuck with the bills of the damage done by thieves, three kids in another stolen car were taken to the hospital last week, one in critical condition. A 14-year-old girl admitted she was behind the wheel and crashed at Trinity College.Related: 14-year-old charged in stolen vehicle crash at Trinity College
News 8 went out with Hartford police Thursday as they looked for stolen cars. The problem, most cars are stolen by juveniles, some of them have been arrested four, five even six times just by Hartford police alone. The juvenile system is nicknamed the catch and release program.
“You arrest them one time, and they learn their lesson, but if they are repeat offenders 3 4 5 times somebody really needs to come down hard on them.”
Tonight Hartford police respond to a call, shots fired from a car, no one was hurt but the car most likely stolen which is why the mayor and chief are working with the regional and state partners to stop it. Chief David Rosado says they are looking at this problem from all angles.
“This goes for your rest, postarrest what’s going on what’s going on in the system, and that is why we brought all of the players together today to look at that.”
Mayor Bronin had a simple and strong message for car owners. Lock up your cars, and don’t leave the keys laying around.
“The vast majority of cars that are stolen in the greater Hartford region, are stolen when there is a key Farb left in the car or the car is left running.”