Akon’s luxury SUV was stolen right under his nose Monday night at a gas station located in the Buckhead district in Georgia.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, police have recovered the 48-year-old singer/producer’s Range Rover early this morning. The “Right Now” singer, born Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam, told police he left the engine running and was pumping gas when someone slid into the driver’s seat of his vehicle.
Atlanta police said in an incident report released today, “He stated that when his tank was almost full he noticed his white Range Rover … pulling off while he was still pumping his gas.”
Akon told investigators he watched as the SUV made a right onto Sidney Marcus Boulevard and was followed out of the gas station by a dark-colored sedan. Surveillance footage confirmed his account, which showed the suspect’s car driving into the gas station at 11:37 p.m. and pulling beside the Range Rover.
In the report, police said: “Shortly after, you can see the suspect get out of the passenger seat of what looks to be a black, four-door BMW sedan, get into the driver’s seat of the victim’s vehicle and drive off with the black BMW following right behind.”
The “Lonely” singer’s cellphone was still in the SUV when it was stolen, allowing him to access an app to track the vehicle to southwest Atlanta, but it was already gone by the time police arrived. He located it again in Forest Park, where it was recovered, police spokesman Officer Steve Avery said.
Per the media outlet, Atlanta police said they were experiencing an increase in vehicle thefts and car break-ins in March, strongly urging citizens never to leave keys or unsecured guns inside their vehicles.
Avery said in a public service announcement on Facebook last year, “These crimes have been dubbed slider crimes and they happen when a thief slides into your vehicle to steal the vehicle itself or steal something inside of it. Always lock your car and turn it off when you step outside.” No suspects have yet been identified in Akon’s case.
Akon lives in a suburb called Alpharetta north to Atlanta, and he isn’t the first celebrity to lose his ride in Atlanta. In January, Ludacris had his Mercedes-Benz stolen after he left the key inside during a trip to the ATM. Officers were able to track the car quickly and returned it to Luda. Tyrese Gibson, the rapper’s costar in the Fast and Furious movie franchise, also became a victim of vehicle theft in late December when his Range Rover was stolen from the driveway of his Buckhead home. It, too, was recovered within hours.