Police in Forest Park have recovered singer and music producer Akon’s luxury SUV after it was stolen Monday night from a Buckhead gas station.
The Grammy-nominated R&B superstar with hits such as “Right Now” and “Lonely,” whose real name is Aliaume Thiam, told police he left the engine running and was pumping gas at a QuikTrip on Sidney Marcus Boulevard when someone slid into the driver’s seat of his Range Rover.
“He stated that when his tank was almost full he noticed his white Range Rover ... pulling off while he was still pumping his gas,” Atlanta police said in an incident report released Tuesday.
Akon told investigators he watched as the SUV made a right onto Sidney Marcus Boulevard and was followed out of the gas station by a dark-colored sedan. His account was confirmed by surveillance footage, which showed the sedan driving into the gas station at 11:37 p.m. and pulling beside the Range Rover, according to the report.
“Shortly after, you can see the suspect get out of the passenger seat of what looks to be a black, four-door BMW sedan, get into the driver’s seat of the victim’s vehicle, and drive off with the black BMW following right behind,” police said in the report.
The singer’s cellphone was still in the SUV when it was stolen. He was able to use an app to track the vehicle to Lawton Street in southwest Atlanta, but it was already gone by the time police arrived about 12:15 a.m. He located it again in Forest Park, where it was recovered early Tuesday morning, police spokesman Officer Steve Avery said.
In March, Atlanta police said they were experiencing an uptick in vehicle thefts and car break-ins and urged citizens never to leave keys or unsecured guns inside their vehicles.
“These crimes have been dubbed slider crimes and they happen when a thief slides into your vehicle to steal the vehicle itself or steal something inside of it,” Avery said in a public service announcement filmed last year. “Always lock your car and turn it off when you step outside.”
No suspects have been identified in Akon’s case. The 48-year-old resides in Alpharetta and plans to release a new album this year. He is not the first celebrity to lose his wheels in Atlanta.
In January, actor and rapper Ludacris had his Mercedes-Benz stolen after he left the key inside during a trip to the ATM, according to Atlanta police. Officers were able to track the car and it was quickly recovered and returned to its owner.
Tyrese Gibson, the rapper’s costar in the “Fast and Furious” movie franchise, also became a victim of vehicle theft in late December when he left his key fob in the cupholder and his Range Rover was stolen from the driveway of his Buckhead home. It too was recovered within hours.
And in January 2020, someone stole the Range Rover belonging to Sara Blakely, the billionaire founder of Atlanta-based Spanx, after she parked at her office in Buckhead and left the key fob in the center console.
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Credit: Nathan Posner for the AJC