ODESSA - Chances are if you've had your car stolen in the past couple of months, you're not alone. That's because Odessa Police say the number of vehicle thefts has spiked in the past couple of months.
Former military man Zach Blenkinsopp got himself a $40,000 present after getting out of the Navy- it was in the form of a souped up Chevy. But now it's gone, along with a pistol that was inside of it. More and more West Texans are feeling losses similar to Blenkinsopp's.
"We've had an increase in stolen vehicles recently. Within the last two months we've had a total of 75," Steve LeSueur, Public Information Officer for the Odessa Police Department, said.
That averages more than one a day in Odessa and officials say the colder weather has a lot to do with it.
"It's usually been when people, they go out on their front yard or driveway turn their vehicle on to warm it up, they go back inside, they come back out and their vehicle's gone," he said.
A majority of the stolen vehicles results from cars being left running, which is illegal. Odessa Police say thieves are looking to find the easiest way into stolen vehicles and misplaced or unattended keys help. That's what happened to Blenkinsopp, who was on a date, when his keys ended up in the wrong hands.
Blenkinsopp said his truck was there when the couple left Century 12 theater on Monday night, but when he came back early the next morning, it was gone.
"I've heard a lot of them end up in Mexico pretty quickly so that's probably where my truck's gonna be at," he said.
"The one's we've never been able to locate, it's unknown where they've gotten to, but we have been able to locate and recover most of these vehicles," LeSueur said.
But Blenkinsopp still thinks it's a hassle all around.
"I don't understand why you have to steal vehicles for a living. We have a great economy here. Get a job and, there's plenty of jobs available, and you could probably make more money, without having the chance to go to jail or having somebody like me, find you. So I'm on the lookout," he said.