Police see spike in St. Louis County car warmup thefts

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Last week sixteen car warmup thefts occurred in St. Louis County. Police say its a high number and every one of them was avoidable.

"We go through this every year. When the weather gets colder criminals take advantage of it," said St. Louis County Police Sergeant Shawn McGuire.

St. Louis County Police are asking people to be a little smarter and not to take anything for granted.

"Lock your car doors, bring your fob in, just to make the criminal take the extra step. A lot of these are just unlocked vehicles, they get in, and drive away," said Sergeant Shawn McGuire.

Are you insured if your car is stolen while warming up?  I asked Ed Akers with Farmers Insurance Group out of St. Charles.

"That's kind of what insurance is for when you make a mistake or something. If you leave your car running it doesn't give the right to someone to steal it. It is covered under comprehensive coverage," said Ed Akers.

If the insurance company has to replace the vehicle the customer pays the deductible.

Sergeant Shawn McGuire explains how these criminals are stealing the cars, "They drive around neighborhoods with possibly three to four suspects in a vehicle. They drive around and look for smoke coming out of the exhaust.  They sit at the house and make sure nothing is moving.  Then they jump out and it takes five seconds."

Last week's thefts mostly occurred in north St. Louis County but Sergeant McGuire says it can happen anywhere.

 

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