Photo courtesy CTV News

A resident of Ottawa has discovered how keen the police across the river in Gatineau, Quebec are about preventing car break-ins and thefts — after a Gatineau cop handed him a ticket for forgetting to lock his car.

David Carriere said he parked outside the steak joint where he was going for lunch and was, ironically enough, distracted by a person he took to be a suspicious character. When he returned to the car moments later to lock it up, he discovered that shifty looking type was, in fact, a police officer scanning the lot for unlocked cars when he came across Carriere’s unsecured Honda Civic and issued a ticket enforcing a provincial law that makes it illegal to leave a car unlocked.

Carriere may not have known about the rule, but it’s enforced regularly enough: Gatineau police say they have issued 467 such tickets so far in 2017, and handed out 517 last year.

Gatineau is located moments away from the nation’s capital and while some (rightly) regard Ottawa as an overly-bureaucratic place, the other irony about this story is that Ottawa has no such law on its books.

It’s quite likely the $52 fine that goes along with Carriere’s citation is more than he had to pay for his steak lunch. He can fight it in court, but if he loses, he’ll owe another $89 in court fees.

Quebec isn’t the only place looking for controversial ways to curb car theft. Lawmakers in Florida are considering penalizing drivers whose cars are stolen if left unattended with the keys inside.

(Via CTV News)