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Published January 03, 2012, 06:15 PM

Lidgerwood co-workers have cars stolen in same month

Lidgerwood, ND (WDAY TV) - People in the small town of Lidgerwood are getting a reminder that crime doesn't just happen in bigger cities. Car thieves struck again. Two of the latest cases happened just a month apart. They're separate incidents, but the victims just happen to be co-workers.

People in the small town of Lidgerwood are getting a reminder that crime doesn't just happen in bigger cities. Car thieves struck again. Two of the latest cases happened just a month apart. They're separate incidents, but the victims just happen to be co-workers.

January 2nd was just like any normal day for the Illias Family.

Janice Illies – Car Theft Victim:” It was the day after New Year's, kind of a sleep in day.”

Until Janice noticed her 2001 Silver Buick Lesabre was gone after her sons left the keys inside.

Janice Illies: “Checked with the other son who doesn't live with us to see if he borrowed it and he said no so we called in and reported our car had been stolen.”

Wayne Hinrich – Car Theft Victim: "I guess we can't go back to the way things used to be in Lidgerwood."

Wayne Hinrichs is Illies' co-worker. His green 1996 Jeep Cherokee was stolen the month before from his property. He says he may have left his keys in the vehicle.

Wayne Hinrich: "I felt more violated why it happened to me I have no idea."

In the past six months, seven vehicles were stolen in Richland County. Three of them were recovered. Aside from two cases that happened in the same hour back in August, deputies do not believe the crimes are connected.

Larry Leshovsky – Richland County Sheriff: “Leaving the keys in it seems to be the opportunity for them to get into the car and take it. Some people have lost a lot of personal property in there.”

Car theft can happen to anyone, anywhere, so to make sure you're not a victim, don't leave your keys in the ignition and remember to lock your doors.

Wayne Hinrich: "After that my life has changed a great deal, I now lock doors behind me and lock my vehicle even when my children come and visit me they now have to ring the doorbell."

Illies says she'll be doing the same thing from now on.

Janice Illies: "You can't say it's not gonna be me, you never know. The world is getting so small now, you don't know who's coming or going."

Neither Illies’ nor Hinrichs’ vehicles have been recovered. Investigators have yet to be able to track down any suspects and the leads are growing cold.

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