Neighbors find stolen car and warn others to be vigilant

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COLUMBIA - A group of neighbors off Route K have bonded after two car thefts in their subdivision.

The Hughes family said someone stole their SUV from Eagle View Ct. in the Boone's Pointe subdivision.

Kari Huges said her family noticed their car was gone around 7:40 a.m. and immediately called the police.

"My husband was about to go to work and we didn't see our car that was parked outside," Kari Hughes said.

This is the second car theft in the neighborhood in the past two weeks. Hughes said the neighbors two doors down had the same thing happen to them.

The neighbors told the Hughes family after their car was stolen, police found it on Southview Drive in Southwest Columbia.

"We remembered that and decided to see if maybe our car was there too," Hughes said. "We drove to the place and saw our car parked on the street."

Hughes and her husband were relieved to find their car. She said they reclaimed the vehicle around 8:30 a.m.

"It's obviously the same people doing it since both cars were found in the same spot," Hughes said.

Neighbors said they think the suspects are a group of about five that have been using a stolen pickup truck to drive around the neighborhood, looking for cars to steal. 

The Columbia Police Department said the investigation into these thefts is ongoing and will give out new information once it has more facts.

Several neighbors said everyone in the subdivision knows because they started a private Facebook group. As of Monday afternoon, the group already has over 100 members and is warning everyone to lock their cars and keep them in a garage if possible. 

"We were very shocked because we have a very quiet neighborhood that's close and everybody gets along," neighbor Peggy Billman said. "We enjoy one another’s company and we watch out for one another, so it was very surprising."

Billman said in the wake of these thefts, the neighborhood is thinking about putting security cameras in. She said 24-hour surveillance would help the area feel more secure and possibly prevent future crime. 

"I feel safe. I'm not afraid to live here," Billman said. "I think this is just a freaky event and it won't be reoccurring."