NEW JERSEY (PIX11) – A typical Monday morning last month for Matt Mazon quickly unraveled into a valuable lesson. The Franklin Lakes man had just taken out the garbage outside his home and was loading his Audi with a few boxes when he left the key fob inside.

“I came out to the driveway. About five minutes later and the car was gone,” Mazon said. Surveillance footage shows the car being there one minute and gone the next. “Your whole day just stops and then you are back to just sitting there and trying to secure your home and secure your family,” Mazon said.

Mazon’s story is far from unique. According to law enforcement officials, auto thefts across New Jersey have surged year after year in a trend they say is out of control.

More than 14,000 vehicles were reported stolen in 2021, up 22% from 2020. So far this year, more than 8,300 cars have been reported stolen, up 37% from the same time last year.

“We need to crack down and cut the engine on carjackings and car theft and we got to do it now,” said U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer.

Gottheimer is urging President Joe Biden to take action by forming a national auto theft task force to coordinate local, state and federal law enforcement efforts, which would tackle the trend on a local and international level.

Sophisticated criminal operations are behind a large swath of theft in New Jersey, where they transport stolen vehicles through ports such as Newark, officials say.

“Vehicles are generally stolen for two reasons: to commit further crimes or to be sold overseas,” Allendale Police Chief Mike Dillon said.

Gottheimer is also calling for more security at the ports as well as increasing prosecution of car theft and carjacking crimes.