FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — First, it happened Jan. 24 at the Kroger Fuel Center on State Boulevard.
It happened again Jan. 26 at a NAPA store on W. Coliseum Boulevard between Goshen and Lima roads.
Then, it happened Feb. 17 at the Marathon gas station near the corner of Spring and Wells streets.
Finally, the fourth incident happened Feb. 20 at the Circle K at the corner of Sherman and State boulevards – just down the street from where the first incident happened.
A man is accused of stealing four vehicles – some left running, some with keys inside – during the span of less than a month, according to newly released Allen Superior Court documents.
Fort Wayne police arrested 38-year-old Charles Mark Allen last week on four counts of auto theft.
During the first incident, surveillance footage reportedly showed Allen walk around a Chevrolet S10 pickup, enter the vehicle, start it up and drive away while the vehicle’s owner conducted business.
The second incident court documents indicated happened on Jan. 26 when Allen reportedly drove off with a vehicle owned by Ridge Automotive.
The next day, a Ridge Automotive employee received a call and some photos from a friend saying Allen tried to sell a vehicle to the friend for $300, according to court documents.
According to court documents, the friend noticed some company-applied numbers had been partially removed from the vehicle, and the friend later looked at the vehicle’s registration and noticed the vehicle was registered to Ridge Automotive.
The friend tried to stall until police arrived, according to court documents, but a “delay in dispatch” prevented police from arriving before Allen took off with the vehicle, which was later found in a parking lot in the 2100 block of Saint Mary’s Avenue.
Around three weeks later, the third incident happened when Allen reportedly took a vehicle parked outside the Marathon that had the engine running and the doors unlocked.
Using surveillance footage, police were able to identify Allen based on previous investigations and reportedly saw him open the door for the victim as the person started to leave, according to court documents.
According to court documents, Allen reportedly got the victim’s attention and “is observed pointing back inside while saying something” to the victim.
As the victim went back inside the gas station, Allen reportedly walked over to the victim’s vehicle, entered the vehicle and drove off.
The final incident happened when Allen was leaving the Circle K gas station as the victim went inside to conduct business.
Surveillance footage showed Allen turn around and walk up to the glass doors to look inside the gas station before going to the victim’s car, which was left running with the doors unlocked, and taking off with the vehicle, according to court documents.
Allen now faces four counts of auto theft, which are each Level 6 felonies.
Allen has court hearings set for March 29 and May 3.
As reported by WANE 15