SLIDELL, La. (WGNO) — In a perfect example of what not to do, a vehicle was stolen from a Slidell, La., rest area when the owner left the keys in the ignition and motor running while he was off using the restroom.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested 41-year-old, Houma native Regan Collins at a Covington-area gas station Tuesday afternoon after she stole the vehicle and drove it through New Orleans and back into St. Tammany via the Causeway.
The driver of the stolen vehicle told deputies he left his work truck, a Toyota Tacoma, running while he ran in to the use the restroom at the rest area. The female had abandoned her own vehicle at the rest area before leaving in the stolen truck.
Collins was seen driving onto the northbound Causeway bridge headed back toward St. Tammany Parish. Several STPSO units responded to intercept the suspect and a police pursuit ensued on Highway 190. Collins was apprehended shortly thereafter at a Circle K gas station just north of Interstate 12.
Collins was booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail for Theft of a Motor Vehicle, Aggravated Flight from an Officer and Driving Under Suspension. An additional charge of Possession of Methamphetamine is pending after suspected methamphetamine was discovered inside the vehicle Collins abandoned at the rest area.
“This was a crime of opportunity,” Sheriff Randy Smith said. “Please never leave an unattended vehicle unlocked and running no matter how short of time you think you are going to be gone.”