It's a problem that's affecting the Metro and threatening the safety of its residents.
An epidemic of car thefts in 2017 has spiked, causing concern for local law enforcement.
The Davenport, Bettendorf, Moline, East Moline, and Rock Island Police, as well as the Scott and Rock Island County Sheriff's Department have joined forces to prevent these car thefts through the "Lock it Up" initiative.
Through efforts of local agencies in the joint task force, police have addressed a growing concern that car thieves could become more brazen, which could ultimately lead to the events that unfolded over the weekend, as well as carjacking.
On Saturday night, May 6, a group of teens used a stolen vehicle to steal a purse in the Village of East Davenport around 11:20 p.m.
Police say another robbery could be tied to these teens that occurred an hour before around 10 p.m. in the 4600 block of North Pine in Davenport.
Less than two hours later at 1 a.m. Sunday morning, May 7, police began a pursuit with the vehicle after an attempted robbery and possible assault in Moline.
Davenport Police learned that the Bettendorf Police Department was pursuing the vehicle as the chase headed towards Davenport.
Police briefly lost the vehicle at Locust Street and Elsie Avenue, but later continued the pursuit after spotting the vehicle.
The suspect vehicle was then involved in an accident with a parked vehicle near 14th Street and Division when seven suspect fled the vehicle.
Four were later apprehended, identified and charged:
Willie Powell, 18, of Davenport, charged with theft in the first degree and interference with officials acts
Edwin Goodwin Jr., 18, of Davenport, charged with theft in the second degree
Zyshon Flourney, 18, of Rock Island, charged with theft in the second degree and interference with official acts
17-year-old female of Davenport, charged with theft in the second degree and interference with official acts
Nearly 250 cars have been stolen in the Metro this year alone, bringing the average number of cars stolen to two a day.
This trend continues to grow with the help of a local gang of young teens behind these incidents.
Follow the following guideline to stay safe during this epidemic:
Always be sure to lock your vehicle and take your keys as you exit the vehicle to fill up your gas tank or head inside of the gas station.
Multiple videos of local agencies show how fast an unlocked car can be stolen.
Many of these videos show the suspect car pulling next to an unlocked vehicle followed by a passenger getting out and stealing the unlocked car.
SHOPPING AND PARKING
Always lock your door from your door panel or manually from the inside of you car as you exit.
As you return to your vehicle, never unlock your car doors until you reach the vehicle as someone may be hiding or waiting for you to unlock your car.
Always check your vehicle to determine if anyone is lying in your back seats.
Make sure to "Lock it Up" and be watchful of your surroundings.