JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A University of North Florida student was shocked to wake up Tuesday morning and find his car stolen from his gated condo complex.
Karl Austin was studying for a final exam Monday night at the Reserve at James Island. He went to get something from his car at 10 p.m. When he woke up early the next morning, his car was gone.
“I was just confused as to how it was gone and why,” Austin said. “Especially out of a gated community.”
Austin said he may have forgotten to lock the car the previous night.
“There’s no broken glass and my car is missing so I can only assume that I didn’t relock it when I went down to my car at night,” he said.
Austin said his car is the first to be stolen from the complex. However, he said there was a series of car burglaries just a few months ago.
“They even sent notices to everyone a few months back [saying] ‘make sure you lock your cars’ and everything,” Austin said. “And then we got a new gate system to prevent that.”
The gate’s arm drops as soon as a car passes through, to prevent piggybacking. The gate is also armed with cameras, which recorded someone driving off with Austin’s car at 3:56 a.m. Tuesday.
Management at the Reserve at James Island said the last incident of something being stolen from a car was in summer 2016. They added they advice residents to lock their cars and take valuables out of plain site.
Additionally, management said the new gate system was installed at the beginning of the year because the old system needed to be replaced.
According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office online crime map, within the past month there have been two car thefts within a half-mile radius of Austin’s condo. When the area is expanded to a mile radius, there were also two thefts of car parts of accessories.
Austin said insurance will cover the car if it’s never recovered. He’s now spreading the word to neighbors and reminding them to lock their doors.