Victim tracks auto theft suspect using cell phone signal

Shermeshia Robertson

The victim of an auto theft in Beaumont used a cell phone signal to find his stolen car and followed the woman driving it until Jefferson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) deputies caught up and arrested her Jan. 7, reports Capt. Crystal Holmes. 

According to a news release from JCSO, Sgt. Droddy responded to the 16000 block of Highway 124 at 11:47 p.m. in reference to a victim of an auto theft following his own stolen vehicle. The car had been stolen earlier in Beaumont and the victim was following a cell phone signal coming from his own stolen car. Droddy observed the stolen vehicle being followed by the victim on Hwy 124.

The stolen vehicle pulled into the parking lot of Green Acres Grocery but when Droddy activated his emergency lights the vehicle took off at a high rate of speed down Greenway. The stolen vehicle crashed but the driver was able to gain control and flee again turning south on Gaulding Road. It spun out in the 7600 block of South and became stuck in the mud. The driver exited the car and began running through a neighboring backyard. Droddy chased the suspect and was able to quickly take her into custody.

The suspect, identified as 20-year-old Shermeshia Robertson of Beaumont, was arrested and taken to a local hospital for medical clearance. She was then booked into the Jefferson county Jail for Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, Evading Detention in a Motor Vehicle as well as an Aggravated Robbery Warrant.

Leaving a vehicle unattended with the keys still in the ignition - whether it's running or not - is a violation of the Texas Transportation Code. People who do this could find themselves not only filing a police report for their stolen vehicle, but also paying a on average a $200.00 - $500.00 ticket because leaving your car running is a Class C misdemeanor.

HB 2194 states that a person operating a motor vehicle may not leave it unattended without stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key from the ignition, setting the parking brake effectively, and — if standing on a grade — turning the front wheels to the curbed side of the highway.

Texas Transportation Code provided the following exceptions, however: Remote Start: Texas law allows the vehicle to be running if it has been started by using a remote start system that allows the vehicle to be started and remain running for a limited time, the keys cannot be in the ignition at that time.