Manchester car theft sheds light on bigger issues across Connecticut

MANCHESTER -- The morning got off to an unusual start for Lisa Gilbert.

Sunday’s frigid forecast wasn’t the only issue for Gilbert.

“I was like let me just warm up my car. I never warm up my car. Let me just warm it up it's going to be cold,” said Gilbert.

She went inside her home and five minutes later she heard a startling sound.

“That can’t be my car. And then I came out here and then a part of me was like, your car is going to be gone and sure enough it was parked right here and my car was gone,” she said.

Gilbert called the police and then noticed her neighbor had a surveillance camera set up perfectly positioned on her driveway.

The footage showed a young male entering her car and driving away.

Her car was returned and the suspect, a teenager, was caught in Hartford.

“A fifteen year old driving an SUV is obviously an incredibly hazardous situation,” said Deputy Chief Brian Foley of the Hartford Police Department.

“This kid is arrested five times from Manchester. We arrested him five times bring him to the justice system. It just keeps happening,” said Foley.

He said his department is riddled with this problem—teenagers stealing cars and joy-riding around his city. He claims they’re in desperate need of a solution.

“Nobody arrests more people for stolen cars than our officers here in the City of Hartford,” said Foley.

He said protecting teens and the public might be more complicated with the closing of Connecticut’s Juvenile Training School. Governor Malloy announced the closure by saying it, “placed young boys in a prison-like facility, making rehabilitation, healing and growth more challenging.”

It was a decision that even garnered praise from famous singer John Legend.

But Foley said that decision could lead to other issues with no good alternatives currently on the table.

“Sometimes, and we hate to lock kids up, these kids need to be protected from themselves,” said Foley. “We’ve said it a hundred times. We have to protect some of these children from themselves. It’s not happening at this point.”