June 25, 2024

Please, Stop Leaving Your Keys in Your Car for the Sake of Christ

The keys to the Mini Cooper with a keychain in the form of a car seen during a flash mob. Fans of the Mini Cooper brand in Moscow and the region joined the international flash mob “I LOVE MINI” for the ninth time.
Photo: Alexander Sayganov/SOPA Images/LightRocket (Getty Images)

If you’re perusing Jalopnik, then you likely adore your vehicle enough to avoid confusing it with another in a parking lot, however, a Montana individual recently committed that error when he mistakenly identified a random crimson Honda CR-V as his own and drove away. Vincent Zepeda was purportedly in a hurry to get a pizza, but upon entering his car and starting to reverse, he noticed an unfamiliar canine in the back seat. Zepeda soon realized that a similarly equipped red Honda CR-V had parked adjacent to his own vehicle, and despite the stranger’s car lacking a roof box or a hood protector like his own, he had entered, ignited it, and departed.

The majority of individuals are aware of the necessity to secure their automobiles and retain possession of their keys when vacating the premises, however, it is plausible that residents in the rural state of Montana exhibit fewer concerns regarding vandalism compared to the general populace. With the prevalence of modern keyless entry technology, cars are designed to initiate ignition once the start button is activated as long as the corresponding key fob is located within the vehicle. The vehicle does not differentiate between the rightful owner and unauthorized individuals, it merely recognizes the presence of the key fob.

I was raised in a metropolitan area where the importance of locking car doors and concealing valuables was instilled from an early age, however, I have visited locales where this practice is not commonplace among residents. Irrespective of the crime rate in your vicinity, it is prudent to keep your vehicle secured and to remove the key fob when parking.

Thieves employ innovative tactics to gain access to and appropriate vehicles, and some experts caution against leaving your car’s key fob within close proximity to the vehicle, such as on a hook near the entrance or on the kitchen counter. This is due to their ability to intercept the key fob’s radio frequency and utilize it to unlock your car even when it is securely locked with the key inside. Consequently, the most effective method of safeguarding your vehicle and its contents in your absence is to lock the doors and take the key fob with you. Do not make it effortless for thieves to steal your vehicle, or worse, an unsuspecting passenger you may have left behind while running errands.


Q: How can I prevent someone from mistakenly taking my car?

A: To prevent such incidents, always double-check your car before entering to ensure it is indeed yours. Additionally, consider using unique identifiers or accessories to distinguish your vehicle from others.

Q: Is it safe to leave my car unlocked in low-crime areas?

A: While crime rates may be lower in certain areas, it is still recommended to always lock your car to prevent opportunistic theft or mistaken identity situations.


Ensuring the security of your vehicle is essential, regardless of your location or the perceived crime rate in the area. By practicing simple precautions such as locking your doors and keeping your key fob secure, you can mitigate the risk of theft or mistaken identity incidents. Stay vigilant and proactive to protect your vehicle and belongings at all times.

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