Gloria Alarcon found out the hard way what it's like to be a victim of car theft. She told Action News, "That's just not right, that's not right when you work hard for what you have and for someone just to go and take what's not theirs."
Alarcon is now without a car for her son to commute to Fresno City College and back to the westside town of Tranquility.
Alarcon said, "He went out there, parked his car. He had class at 9:30, comes back about 2:30, and the car was gone."
The 2003 Toyota Corolla was stolen from the intersection of Maroa and Yale in Central Fresno 11 days ago. Because the car has a lot of miles on it and is almost ten years old, Alarcon and her husband have the car only minimally insured. If the car isn't recovered, they will have nothing.
Alarcon says her son may have left the car unlocked, and there was a spare key in the compartment between the two front seats. Since many of these car thefts are crimes of opportunity, your first line of defense is always locking your car.
CHP Sgt. Lenny Sherman said, "You think you're clever and you can hide something inside your car... ha... they're gonna find it."
Sgt. Sherman knows the mind of a car thief -- he's part of the Fresno HEAT Team, which stands for Help Eliminating Auto Theft. He says while his team recovers 80 percent of stolen vehicles, a large percentage of those are either not drivable, or severely damaged in some way.
Sgt. Sherman says when folks cancel full coverage auto insurance, they should consider the consequences, and look for other ways to protect themselves against theft. "Simple things like a Club... a Kill Switch... a Kill Switch that you install yourself or have someone you trust install."
The Fresno HEAT is using a new tool of its own, Social Media, posting pictures of stolen vehicles on Facebook.
Gloria Alarcon remains hopeful her Corolla will turn up.