LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WIVB)– A good Samaritan who stopped to give first aid to a crash victim ended up getting her vehicle stolen on the spot.

We’ve done stories on the increase in car thefts lately but this one is especially alarming. On Monday afternoon, someone got in a car accident right here on Abbott Road near Ridge in Lackawanna.

An off-duty corrections officer stopped to administer first aid and help the accident victim out of the crashed car. As police were pulling up to the scene, three young people jumped into the good samaritan’s car and drove away.

“I heard them laughing, cheering, laughter from the car and I didn’t really understand what was happening at first. But they sped away. The first aid kit that I had just been using came out of the car and like something out of a movie scene bandages in the air like confetti just falling to the ground.”

Kelly, Crash Victim

“I was standing right there. My key was in my pocket. You see a couple people walking up to an accident, you figure they’re being nosy and next thing you know they’re in my truck. I chased it I was about 10 seconds away from jumping into the back of my hatch. What do they say no good deed goes on punished yet I got my vehicle back I was lucky.”

Nicole, Good Samaritan whose vehicle was stolen

Buffalo’s Deputy Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia says car thefts increased this year to the point where it happens more than four times a day.

“I think you’re seeing a lot of people of a younger age going out with nothing else to do and they’re stealing cars,” said Gramaglia.

Ever since bail reform was implemented a judge can no longer keep someone in jail as they await trial for car theft.

“And when you’ve got an individual that is on the second, third, fourth pending stolen car case and that judge still has no authority to set bail you know that’s a problem.”

Dep. Comm. Joseph Gramaglia, Buffalo Police Dept.

George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.