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DoorDash driver says he's learned his lesson after suspects steal his car during food pickup

Caleb Harding had left his car running for just seconds as he went inside the Papa John's on Bardstown Road. That was all it took for it to be stolen.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Louisville food delivery driver's car has been recovered, two days after security footage showed two young men stealing it from the parking lot of the Highlands Papa John's on Bardstown Road.

The Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) said it's investigating the theft, which happened as the driver, Caleb G. Harding, went inside the store to make a quick pick up. Harding said he left his car on to maximize time, and within just seconds, saw another car pull up.

"My natural instinct was to run after my car," said Harding, who works for DoorDash. "I was right there. I was in the store -- not even 5 seconds. [It's] something you do 20, 25 times a day, go right in and right out. It's just a humble reminder, lesson learned."

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Store surveillance video shows the men drive off and Harding run after them that Sunday afternoon.

Then, Tuesday morning, Harding's car was found parked on the side of Greenbelt Highway and Glo Jean Way, 15 miles away in southwest Jefferson County, near a neighborhood. A police officer was on scene as the car was towed away.

"I was actually sleeping, and my sister called me on her way to work and tells me, 'I found your car,'" Harding said.

Harding said he's relieved he wasn't hurt and outside of car seats being slashed open, there was no major damage.

While Harding said it's the first time something like this has happened to him, the issue of stolen cars is a growing concern in Louisville.

LMPD's crime map shows 77 vehicles have been stolen in the past seven days, and 267 in the last month. So far this year, more than 1,150 cars have been stolen.

A similar situation took place recently at a Domino's Pizza in Lyndon. Security video shows people stealing employee Ben Jones' work car. Jones said police have since found the car, and the only thing missing was $70 cash.

Then, there are cases where drivers are still inside.

LMPD data show more than 40 carjackings in 2022 as of late March, and nearly 250 in all of 2021. Many have come with injuries and some people have died.

"Very sad this is what our youth has come to," Harding said. "At this point, not sure what the steps are to get this under control."

Police say the case at the Papa John's is an active and ongoing investigation, and no other information can be provided at this time. They encourage anyone with any information about this stolen vehicle or any stolen vehicle to call 574-LMPD (5673) or use the LMPD online portal.

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