State Police are investigating two vehicle thefts, one of which was found on fire on Interstate 481 Friday morning.
Trooper Jack Keller, spokesman for Troop D, tells CNY Central that Troopers were flagged down around 5:30 a.m. at the Nice 'N Easy on Seneca Turnpike in Canastota. A car owner reported that his 2006 GMC Sierra had been stolen while he was inside the convenience store.
Keller says the driver, whose name was not released, left the keys in the ignition while he went inside the store around 5:15 a.m. When he came out, his SUV was gone.
Police say the Sierra was found about an hour later on fire on Interstate 481 in Syracuse, near the Brighton Avenue exit. That fire caused the right lane of I-481 south to be closed for about an hour and a half while crews cleared the wreckage.
Just a few minutes later, at 6:42 a.m., State Police say they were called to a home in Oneida Castle for a report of a stolen pickup truck. The truck owner says when he left his house to go to work this morning, his truck was missing and his wife??s vehicle had been ransacked. The owner says he had left his keys in the truck overnight.
In addition, the wife??s vehicle had suffered impact damage, likely from the stolen truck. One of the truck??s side mirrors was found in the driveway.
Keller says the stolen Oneida Castle pickup was found at the Seneca Turnpike Nice 'N Easy around the same time that the Sierra was reported stolen.
Police are not speculating as to whether the two thefts are related, but he says the thefts are being investigated together.
Police are reminding the public not to leave their keys in their vehicles overnight or leave them running while entering public businesses.
??We all used to leave our doors unlocked,?? says Keller, ??but times have changed. We can??t do that anymore.??