Car theft victim fined after reporting the crime

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A costly mistake just feet from his own home left a Memphis man with no car and a fine from the city.

The victim, Brandon Robertson, said he was simply trying to warm his car up because it was freezing that morning, but it's a mistake he'll never make again

"It just keeps playing back in my head over and over and over," Robertson said.

Robertson said it was about 20 degrees Friday morning, so he cranked up his car before heading to work.

"I hear my door opening because I have a dent by the door, and I hear it pop. So when I'm walking out I see someone getting in my car," Robertson said.

In just seconds, the car thief looked him in the eye and sped off.

"Wasn't anything I could do," Robertson said. "It wasn't time for me to be a hero, I just wanted to get back in the house to my family."

Police call it a crime of opportunity, usually happening when temperatures drop. But the act left Robertson without a car and with a fine.

"Yup, $50 ticket, $50 ticket for warming my car up," Robertson said.

He was fined for having an unattended vehicle. State law says if a thief takes your unattended car and happens to crash it, you could be accountable for the damage.

Robertson said he wants to make sure the same thing doesn't happen to you.

"You never know who's watching," Robertson said. "You never know who, any day, might take a chance on something you have."

Unfortunately, Robertson still does not have his car back. The car is a gray 2010 Dodge Avenger with a dented side fender and an Oakland Raiders decal.

He said he's learned his lesson and he's hoping to have it again soon.

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