Police warn against warming up cars unattended after string of thefts

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – After a string of car thefts, police are putting out an urgent warning to drivers. Do not leave your car running if you’re not in it.

“What that invites is a crime of opportunity,” said officer Michael Hewitt with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. “There are people who are looking for that, and this time of year they know that’s a possibility.”

In a span of 24 hours, 10 stolen cars were reported in the city’s southwest district. A large majority of those were left warming up with the keys in the ignition. While it’s common this time of year, it’s a staggering number to police.

“No, that’s not normal,” Hewitt said of the number of cars stolen in one day. “That is quite a leap in number, that’s a real big spike.”

IMPD has since recovered five of the ten stolen vehicles. Good news for the car owners, but not time well spent.

“In order to recover those cars, we have had to pull resources from other units within our police department that are out working hard for our crime reduction strategy,” Hewitt said.

IMPD warns that cars that remain stolen could go on to be used in future crimes, and could also lead to high speed chases. Not only that, but it could have an impact on your wallet. While stolen cars are covered under comprehensive insurance, if they add up, so will your rates.

“They do look at the frequency of claims, and that can impact your rate.”

When it comes to 15 minutes of cold vs. the risk of a stolen car, IMPD hopes drivers will choose brave the weather.

“Leaving the keys in your car with your car running, that is a 100% preventable crime,” Hewitt said.

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