Keep your car off and keys out of plain sight when pumping gas.
Naugatuck police are sharing that message as they investigate a brazen car theft from a gas station Tuesday afternoon in broad daylight.
The owner, still in shock, spoke with NBC Connecticut about the ordeal that could happen to anyone. He asked not to share his name or show his face.
To make matters worse, the owner said he had literally left the car dealership with his new 2015 black Audio less than 10 minutes before a surveillance camera at the gas station captured video the car theft.
"I literally just drove it off the lot," he said. "The car wasn't even dry from washing it."
Naugatuck detectives are trying to figure out if they can enhance the quality of the grainy video, Lt. Colin McAllister said.
“2019 and our video is surveillance is not very up to date it looks like,” the owner said.
The video shared on the police department's Facebook page shows the new owner in a yellow shirt pumping gas on the passenger side of his new Audi. It's hard to make out because the quality isn't the best, but someone hopped behind the wheel and drove off as he finishes filling the tank.
“I was very excited to pick up my new car," the owner said. "Got there around 3:40, finalized all the paperwork took off around probably 5:40ish.”
By about 5:50 p.m., Naugatuck police said they'd received the report of the car theft at the Cumberland Farms Gas Station on North Main Street.
“I did get a brief look at him," the owner said. "At first I thought maybe I didn’t put the car in park and it started rolling and I looked up and saw the suspect in the car.”
Police said they believe a newer white Lexus seen leaving the gas station may have dropped off the suspect who took off with the car in front of several witnesses.
“We encourage people not to let their guard down, especially at gas stations," Lt. McAllister said. "These are locations we know that people are gonna steal vehicles are going to surveil. They look for targets of opportunity victims who might not be attentive to the fact that their vehicles are running or they left their keys in there.”
The owner of the stolen Audi learned that lesson the hard way.
"Don’t leave your keys in your ignition when you go to pump gas," he said, "cause I’ve done it a million times before and never thought it would happen.”
Naugatuck police are asking anyone who can help track down the car thief to give them a call at 203-729-5221.