Cars stolen after drivers leave them running

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) -- Thursday's early morning chill cost three drivers their vehicles in St. Louis County. Police say each had started their car to warm it up and left the keys in the ignition while they went back inside their house.

St. Louis County Police say it is a common crime especially when the weather is particularly cold or hot.

The cars were stolen from homes on Weber Trail Drive in Affton, Claudine in Spanish Lake and Vallette Dr. near Jennings.

"For any criminal who wants to get in and get out real quick that's the easiest crime in the world," said County Police Sgt. Brian Schellman. "They are in and out before you even know they are gone with your car," he added.

Schellman advises to always lock your car if you must warm it up and leave even briefly.

A veteran mechanic for Coates Brothers in Dogtown suggests purchasing a keyless remote starter system.

"Keyless remote starts are nice if they are installed by a proper, reputable shop that knows how to do it. Then you still need to put the key in the ignition to drive away," said Mike Finn. The advantage, he noted, is once a driver hits the brake it will kill the engine. Expect to pay three to four hundred dollars to purchase and install such a system. It involves connecting it to your car's computer.

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