Five cars have been appropriated from Midtown since Sunday evening, he said. Four were virtually gift-wrapped, with key fobs left inside, he said.
“We’re seeing this pattern over and over,” O’Connor said. “I believe roughly 70 percent of vehicles stolen this year have been stolen with the key fob inside.”
That negligence is not lost on the perpetrators, who are now targeting more expensive cars. Among the vehicles stolen in the last week: a Range Rover and a Porsche Panamera, O’Connor said.
Driveways and gas stations are typically the setting for such thefts, he said.
“You make it so simple for a car to be stolen,” the deputy chief said. “Anybody can just lift the door handle, push the start button and drive off.”
O’Connor said investigators have “a number of suspects” wanted in multiple cases.
Despite the recent surge, auto thefts are up just 1 percent for the year.
Overall, crime in Atlanta is down 17 percent in 2020. But violent crime continues to rise.
The city recorded its 130th murder Tuesday, a deadly shooting in northwest Atlanta. It’s the highest total since 2003, when there were 148 killings, and a 42 percent increase from this time in 2019.
The 28-day period through Nov. 14 also saw a 74 percent rise in aggravated assaults, according to the police department.