A summer of stolen cars in Ocean and Monmouth counties continued over the Labor Day weekend with three more stolen on Monday including an unlocked car stolen from a Jackson driveway that led to a chase that reached speeds of 100 mph.

Eleven cars have been stolen in the past 30 days in Lakewood, according to Lakewood police. Five cars stolen were in Barnegat the weekend of July 30. Jackson police reported 11 vehicles were stolen on August 2. Holmdel police reported seven vehicles were stolen in July.

The common denominator in most of the thefts is unlocked cars and keys left inside.

As a Jackson police officer headed to Knight Drive around 1:20 a.m. on Monday after the owner of a 2018 Acura reported it stolen, the sedan passed the responding officer on East Veterans Highway, according to spokesman Steve Laskiewicz. As the officer turned around to go after it, a 2020 Acura passed at a high rate of speed and refused to stop.

The officer followed the 2018 Acura to Route 9 near the Freehold Raceway Mall as the stolen car reached speeds of 100 mph before the pursuit was ended, according to Laskiewicz.

The owners of both cars admitted to police they left them unlocked with the key or key fob inside.

Stolen in broad daylight

The owner of a 2019 Dodge Charger Hellcat reported his car stolen from his home on Vincenzo Driver in Toms River when he got home from work around 2 p.m. on Monday afternoon, according to Toms River police spokeswoman Jillian Messina.

Video surveillance of the incident shows the suspects entering the vehicle and quickly pulling away, according to Messina The vehicle was later located by the Newark Police Department. The owner wasn't sure if he had locked the vehicle, or if he left the keys inside, according to Messina.

11 stolen cars in Lakewood

Lakewood police said they are investigating eleven stolen cars over the past 30 days, two which involved luxury vehicles, according to spokesman Gregory Staffordsmith.

The burglars did not force their way into the vehicles and several were left running, according to Staffordsmith.

"We do not believe that all of the thefts are related, however, we do believe that the luxury auto thefts are related to similar cases throughout the state," Staffordsmith said.

There's an easy way to stop the thefts with similar advice from almost every police department interviewed – make sure your car is locked, with the keys removed.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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