Jefferson County

Rash of car thefts hits Jefferson County

Victim shares story while authorities search for thief

String of car thefts hits Jefferson County

MADRAS, Ore. - Cheryl Simmons had just finished cleaning her 2007 Dodge pickup Tuesday night when something strange happened, right under her nose.

"What I heard was my vehicle turning around, and when I came to my front door, I saw my truck facing the highway," said Cheryl Simmons of Culver. "And it was just kind of paused there, and I come running out, and it just slowly took off."

Simmons watched her $60,000 truck drive away. She then quickly called 911, and found out she wasn't the only victim.

"I found out that my neighbor's vehicle had been stolen and wrecked," Simmons said.

Plus two other cars around the same area.

Simmons had a long, sleepless night.

"I never in a million years thought I would get it back," she said.

Until some good news Wednesday morning, when Simmons' son found the truck abandoned in Madras.

Despite a couple dings and scratches, some interior damage and a stolen GPS system, Simmons' car was found in decent shape.

"I just started bawling," Simmons said. "If that's all that happened, then I'm happy."

But it doesn't come without a lesson. Simmons left her truck unlocked, with the keys on the front seat -- the first and last time she says that will ever happen.

"I know that's just how fast it can happen. it's a very big lesson," she said.

Officials say some common sense can go a long way.

"We live in a safe county -- it's pretty rural, for the most part," said Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins. "People feel safe with leaving their keys in the car and unlocked, and you get lax -- and then you find out we are part of the rest of the world, and we do have bad people who take advantage of people who are trusting."

Officials believe the crook might have been drunk, because all but Simmons' car were found crashed.

The car thief could face a laundry list of charges if caught.

If you have any information, you're asked to call the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office at 541-475-6520.

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