Usually, Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen is offering advice on how to e-file land records and that type of thing.

However, on Monday, Nov. 17, he had some unrelated advice to pass on: Don’t leave your keys in your car, even when your car is in your driveway.

About 3:30 in the morning on the Friday following Veteran’s Day, Thigpen’s silver Kia Sportage SUV – plate FFJ-6597 – was stolen from his driveway in Thigpen’s northwest Greensboro home.

He has a picture of the culprit (above), and is asking everyone to keep a lookout for his SUV.

Thigpen said he hopes the person who took it is found because it might help that person out in the end.

“He looks 17 to 21,” Thigpen said. “My hope is that if he is caught now it could be a learning experience for him.  Something like this, in 10 years, if not caught and held accountable, could turn into something violent.”

Thigpen said that other cars in his neighborhood that night were vandalized before the thief got to Thigpen’s SUV and found the keys inside.

“I do want my truck back,” the register of deeds clarified, adding that one of his children’s set of golf clubs was in the vehicle.  He said those items are replaceable but the young man’s future may not be.

Thigpen posted the video and pictures of his car on Facebook and is asking those who know anything to help.

He wrote on Facebook: “I had committed two cardinal sins: 1) I left my door unlocked.  2) The keys were inside.   Those were two knuckleheaded things I feel awful about.   Pretty stupid.”

Thigpen said everything happens for a reason.

“With my own incompetence established and in between phone calls with police and insurance companies I’ve been asking myself why did this ‘kid,’ with all the vehicles around get mine?  The pic leads me to believe they are young and I’m more incredulous than anything.  Who knows? Maybe it will be a good lesson for your kids.  Maybe a kid knows this kid and says something or nothing, but learns their own lesson…If there is no intervention in this person’s life where will they be in 10 years?  A part of me sees this kid’s life going in multiple directions, few good if they aren’t apprehended.”

The car has a Ranger sticker and Guilford College sticker on it.  The front right headlight is cracked; Thigpen had been meaning to get it fixed.

Mr. Deeds is asking anyone who sees the car abandoned – or anywhere – not “engage it.”

 Instead, he said, they should call the non-emergency number of the Greensboro Police Department at 336-373-2496.