Cold mornings are prime time for ‘warm-up’ car thefts

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CHESTERFIELD, Mo. – It is cold outside. You think to yourself, “I’m just going to head back inside for a few minutes while my car warms up.”

Too many people who think that way come back out to find their car is gone. This is the season for warm-up thefts. Opportunistic thieves look for a car that has been left running and unattended to warm-up during the winter months to steal. It is a quick and easy target.

“People always tell us when that happens that they can’t believe how fast it was. It was just a moment, but that’s all it takes,” said Lieutenant Chris Connelly, Chesterfield Police Department.

With the pandemic, the chance for theft increases as the desire for a warm vehicle may tempt those grabbing to-go food orders or making a quick run into the convenience store to also leave the car running while they do so. But Lieutenant Connelly warns you to be responsible.

“They’re looking for that exhaust that’s coming out the back of the car and, as soon as they see it, they key on it and they’re up in the car and gone,” he said.

Never leave your car running or the keys in the ignition when you are away from it, even for a short time. Police remind you that you have two options: start the car, lock it, and keep the key with you as you head back inside or simply bundle up and wait for the car to warm up before you head on your way.

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