Charleston Police Seeking Help in String of Car Thefts

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A string of car thefts within the last month have police now seeking the public's help.

Surveillance of a now-closed Shoney's Restaurant along the 3600 block of MacCorkle Avenue shows three men pulling into the parking lot with a truck and allegedly stealing a van.

After the men look under the hood of the car, they can be seen entering the van before hooking the car up to what appears to be their truck.

"We've had three reported incidents where people's cars break down on the interstate," Charleston Police Detective Jarl Taylor said. "Next thing you know, they try to go back and retrieve their vehicle -- and their vehicle is gone."

Surveillance shows an emblem on the side of the truck that police say may be the key to cracking the case.

Police are investigating whether the highway car thefts and the Shoney's parking lot theft are connected.

Business owners who work near the Shoney's say the area isn't known for car thefts.

"We actually park in the Shoney's lot ," said Gina Baker, who owns a bakery beside Shoney's. "We have a back parking lot that we could park ours in, but you would think where the Shoney's is on the major street would be safer than back in an alleyway. Guess not."

Police also are trying to determine if the stolen cars are being scrapped for their parts.

Anyone with information about the thefts is asked to call the investigative unit of the Charleston Police Department.

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