Maplewood Police officials continue to warn residents about protecting their cars from getting stolen and potentially becoming suspects in crimes while leaving vehicles unattended and running at local establishments.
Authorities in Maplewood are on the search for two individuals who easily accessed then drove away in a woman's car after she reportedly left it running in the parking lot of a Dunkin Donuts.
It happened at approximately 1:55 p.m. police responded to the 1900 block of Springfield after they received an initial report of a carjacking in progress.
When Maplewood officers arrived, they found a woman who suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and cops confirmed that the incident was not a carjacking but a vehicle theft.
The woman reportedly parked her vehicle in the lot of Dunkin Donuts and entered the establishment to shop.
When she returned from the store, the woman noticed two juveniles enter the running car in an attempt to steal the vehicle.
According to witnesses, the woman attempted to stop the suspects by jumping on the car's hood while the assailants drove off.
Witnesses said the woman fell to the ground while the woman suspect sped eastbound on Springfield Avenue towards Irvington Township.
The vehicle was reportedly tracked to a location in Newark, but it is not clear if officers ever recovered the stolen car.
Maplewood Police would only say that the incident was not a carjacking and they are investigating the incident.
Most car thefts are crimes of opportunity, and drivers should break themselves of certain bad habits that could make their cars vulnerable to 'Grand Theft Auto' style incidents, leading to bodily injury and other felony crimes.
According to reports, these crimes usually occur in neighboring towns where thieves use the stolen cars to get away from armed robberies and even homicide scenes.
"Don't leave your keys in the car or under the seat at night and parked in the driveway," NJDOT officials said. "If you go to the gas station, don't leave the car running at the pump while you go in, especially don't leave children and dogs in the car with the vehicle unoccupied and running."