“She is an instacart delivery woman and had left her brand new jeep running with her keys and phone inside”

by Prince Of Petworth October 27, 2016 at 10:40 am 50 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

Last evening my husband went outside to check the mail and noticed a jeep driving down Irving Street [600 block] very quickly. It’s a residential street, so it stood out as odd. Then all of a sudden, this woman runs up to him and says that it’s her jeep and she needs to borrow a phone to call the police.

She is an instacart delivery woman and had left her brand new jeep running with her keys and phone inside (as well as other deliveries) while she was dropping off an order to our neighbors. Some passerby must have taken advantage of the situation and jumped into her jeep and drove off. The cops arrived quickly (thank goodness) and took a report. We feel really awful for her and we are hopeful she gets her car back without too much hassle. It’s also unsettling since this happened on the street we live on–only a few doors down.

Jumping out of the car to run inside while it’s running/unlocked is something we have all done at some point. It’s a good reminder for all of us to be more careful.

  • AJ

    This is awful, but I’d say that the vast majority of people haven’t done this while living in DC…

    • Hill Denizen

      Seriously, who does this in DC?!?! I wouldn’t even leave my phone on the seat while I make the delivery. I would leave the car running in my quiet suburban neighborhood in Florida if it was only a few seconds and I had to run into my house, but I wouldn’t do it in a shopping center. I think this is the equivalent to leaving a car running on a DC street where there are pedestrians around.

      • AJ

        I have actually never done this, and I’ve spent most of my life in small-town VA. It takes remarkably little time to turn off the ignition, throw your 4-ways on if you’re parking sketchily, and lock your car.

    • also anon

      I have never done this. I even lock my car and take my keys when I’m getting gas.

      • Derek

        I have never done this as well. Sorry, but this woman really was asking for it. Rules in DC (and any urban area) is always lock your car and don’t let anything be seen through the windows.

      • jumpingjack

        Yes. I lock my car when getting gas, even when I’m going to be standing next to the car the entire time. I know someone who had her car stolen – while she was standing next to the car actively filling the tank – because the car was unlocked.

        • Anon Spock

          Did they hot wire it that fast or were the keys still inside?
          I never lock my door getting gas but I always take keys and phone.

          • jumpingjack

            It was one of those cars that starts with the press of a button if the keys are nearby. Which they were, in her purse on the passenger seat.

          • Itsatrap

            Always lock your car when getting gas! I made this mistake in Shaw a few years ago. Guy ran up to my car and jumped in and wouldn’t get out. I had the keys so he couldn’t go anywhere but I had to call the police to get him out of my car. He didn’t cause any damage but he changed all my seat settings and rummaged through the glove box.

          • jumpingjack

            Itsatrap, that’s creepy! I just lock my doors when getting gas because I usually leave my purse on the passenger seat if I’m staying right next to the car. (I don’t have one of those new-fangled cars that starts with a button.)

          • Anon Spock

            I usually only get gas at Costco where there are attendants. I don’t see that scenario being likely in those locations.
            If I’m at some small out of the way station at night, sure, I’ll lock it.

          • INWDC

            Itsatrap, that is totally bizarre, but it did make me laugh that all that idiot was able to was change the seat settings. It’d have been awesome if you could have remotely blasted your car stereo with some annoying song on repeat.

  • The King Ad-Hoc

    That happened to me once, many years ago, when I had a job delivering City Paper. Except in my case, a police officer got in my car and drove it to the impound lot. Apparently leaving an unattended vehicle running on the street is against the rules or something.

  • Anon Spock

    Is it really that common to leave your car running with deliveries inside? Or running in general when you’re stepping away?

    • Anon

      I see delivery drivers do it all the time. Usually their cars don’t appear to be worth stealing.

      • Anon Spock

        I delivered long ago, and I’d never think to do it, but to each their own. I’d be much more worried about the food being stolen than the car.

      • Anon Spock

        Also her car was brand new….definitely worth turning off.

        • Anon

          Agreed. I’m guessing this will be a mistake she only makes once in her life.

          • ontarioroader

            A Domino’s delivery guy had his car stolen in front of my apartment building a few years ago because he left it running. MPD showed up, got his info and wrote him a $50 ticket for leaving a vehicle running unattended before they took his theft report. Lesson learned.

  • KPS

    I’ve often “joked” (it’s only a half-joke if it’s also half-true) that in DC someone will take anything that isn’t nailed down. This sad story is true to that. I hope this lady gets everything back and the loser lands in jail for a long time.

    • Itsatrap

      He’a not going to jail.

    • SoTrue

      Haha yes that was my joke about Baltimore while living there for several years, that someone would take a single glove if you left it on the seat.

      • OJ

        Same thing in Brentwood

  • dcd

    “Jumping out of the car to run inside while it’s running/unlocked is something we have all done at some point. ”
    When I lived in rural NJ, or now in Bethesda, sure. For the 11 years I lived on Irving Street? Never once. That’s ridiculous.

    • That Man A

      I concur
      not a smart move at all no matter how long you will be gone from the car
      not saying she deserved it or anything but how mad can you be if you left it unattended running
      either way I hope the perp is caught and she gets her belongings back

    • anon

      I’d advise not being overconfident about Bethesda either.

  • jumpingjack

    I feel badly for her, but this is not something I have ever done in a city (or outside of a city for that matter). Seems like basic common sense to me.
    Makes me think of the post on my neighborhood listserve from someone who was shocked, SHOCKED, that her purse was stolen from the front seat of her car when she only left it there for 5-10 minutes.

    • anon29

      “Some passerby must have taken advantage of the situation and jumped into her jeep and drove off.” Not sure if you’re trying to sugar coat it or what, but I’d say that someone stole her car, not that “Some passerby took advantage of the situation.”

  • anon

    Not necessarily ridiculous – I can see a delivery person who is parked directly in front of a house leaving the car running while they bring things to the stoop. Not saying that I would do it, but I can see someone thinking, what are the chances someone will walk by in the next 15 seconds who is willing to steal a car? I have left my bike for 30 seconds in situations like that, and while it’s technically possible that someone could ride off with it while I’m sitting on my front steps, it just doesn’t feel likely to happen.
    Anyway I hope they recover it quickly and without much damage to the car.

  • I Dont Get It

    “Jumping out of the car to run inside while it’s running/unlocked is something we have all done at some point.”

    Uhm, no it’s not. Even when I lived in rural Indiana I didn’t do this since I was afraid the car would accidentally slip into gear and run over a cow or something.

    • textdoc

      +1. I have never done this, ever.
      I can kind of understand a delivery person wanting to leave the vehicle running while popping in to make a delivery… but at the very least, wouldn’t it make more sense to carry two sets of keys, so you could leave the vehicle running but lock it/unlock it with the second set? (Granted, someone could still break a window and run off with the vehicle… but it would make it slightly more difficult than if the car were unlocked and running.)

      • navyard

        >> “but at the very least, wouldn’t it make more sense to carry two sets of keys, so you could leave the vehicle running but lock it/unlock it with the second set? ”

        Because otherwise, she would have had to get someone to help her turn the manual crank on the front of the engine block? Nope! This was a NEW car, not Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!
        How hard is it to turn your wrist, remove key, slip in pocket?

        • textdoc

          “How hard is it to turn your wrist, remove key, slip in pocket?” Not hard at all; I do it myself all the time (as I mentioned above).
          I was just trying to figure out if there was some sort of in-between option for a delivery person who for some reason thinks she should keep the engine running while delivering stuff.

    • SoTrue

      You just reminded me of the time I hopped out of the car to pick up a first date and the car started rolling backward out the driveway because not only had I left it on, I was so nervous I hadn’t put it in park. Had to jump back in and stop the thing. Quite the embarrassing start to the evening!

  • Anon

    she WAS an Instacart delivery woman?

  • skj84

    Poor lady. I wonder if she was from DC proper? Some people are way too trusting. I know people who leave their cars running in winter to warm them up. Even in Central PA where I’m from its a bad idea. I hope her car gets recovered.

  • LedroitTigah

    I feel really badly for the instacart delivery woman. My heart goes out to her. :(

  • Angry Parakeet

    I saw what must have been her and the police last night, figured it was a stolen car being reported. A bad thing I do is get out of my car in the alley to move trash cans from in front of my garage and leave car running. It’s only a few feet away but same could happen in my case, too.

    • Angry Parakeet

      Just told boyfriend about this and he said it could have been a repo. (He would know.) Last year a car in front of my house was repossessed. Very fast procedure and departure.

  • K

    Wow, Popville commenters are all perfect. Impressive.

    Just last week, as I was backing out of my driveway in NE, I saw that I had mail in my mail box and jumped out to grab it. As I was getting back in the car I realized how stupid I was leaving my car running with the keys in it. Thoughtless stuff happens all the time.

  • takomanorpark

    5+ years ago in Columbia Heights, a friend was leaving a rowhouse in the morning to drive to work. He unlocked his car remotely as he headed out the door of the house. In the time it took him to kiss his girlfriend on the stoop and walk to his in-visual-range car, someone had casually climbed into his car and was rummaging through his glove compartment. After hearing that story, I don’t leave my car unlocked ever unless I am physically inside it.

    • skj84

      Yikes. I don’t drive, but I do sometimes leave the house door open to grab mail and such. Anyone can bust in and rob me in the 30 seconds it takes to head out onto the porch and back. Its just so easy to become complacent, to think “it won’t happen to me”. Constant vigilance!

      • tke98

        Just curious, and assuming you live in a house, does this mean you never open the windows in your home? I always make sure the locking mechanisms are on when I go to bed, but on nice days in the spring and fall, my screens are down and my windows are up so I can get the nice breezes.

  • eva

    I can’t imagine doing this anywhere. It would not feel safe to me, period.

    There is a daycare near my house. During the drop off and pick up I constantly see running cars parked out front with OTHER CHILDREN IN THEM ALONE. It drives me mad. How easily could someone steal your car with your kid in it, or worse your kid accidentally put the car in gear and kill themselves.

    • Anonamom

      Yesterday in Baltimore, a woman was unloading groceries in front of her house with the baby still in the car; someone hopped in and took off with the baby.

  • tke98

    My car has a keyless start-up. A couple of times over the years, I’ve remembered something that I’ve left at my front door and left to go retrieve it while not turning my car off. But I always take my car keys with me and lock the doors if I leave my purse inside. But I know that my car won’t go anywhere without the keys. But I only do this if I know that what I need is at the front door and I can keep an eye on my car (which is 99% percent of the time parked directly in front of my house) the entire time. I agree with the others that I would not have done this if I had to actually lose sight of my vehicle and in any event, I would not have left the means to drive my car away within an unlocked vehicle.

  • Maiden of Mount Pleasant

    There was significant MPD presence (4-5 police cruisers, 1 van, several officers) at 14th and Park around 2:45pm. A newer, dark blue Jeep Compass with DC plates was stopped between 2 police cruisers. Just to the driver’s side of the Jeep was a young man in handcuffs. I couldn’t help but wonder if it was related to this story. If so, props to the cops for recovering the stolen vehicle!

  • Anon

    was she legally parked?

  • jsauri

    Something we’ve all done? Not in the city.


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