IMPD: 5 car thefts due to unattended, running vehicles

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Now that winter has returned so have opportunistic car thieves.

“But again, if you’re leaving a car that’s unattended, it’s an opportunity,” said Sgt. Kendale Adams, IMPD.

Criminals, like anybody else, get cold.  Police say when they see a running car and jiggle the handle to find it’s unlocked that car can be gone in seconds.  So, is warming up that vehicle worth it?

D & A Automotive Specialist Owner Andy Curts says it is a good thing to let your car warm up for 10 to 15 minutes in these temperatures before taking off.  How you do that is the key.

“I do, but I have a spare key and I lock the door,” Rochelle Coby.

“I really don’t.  But, I’ve done it outside of work before,” said Brandon Wilde.

Having your doors locked helps, though it is not fool proof.

“So, someone could smash out a window if the door was locked and still get away with someone’s car,” said Adams.

At least five reports of vehicle thefts were filed with IMPD from Monday to Tuesday.  In those cases, doors were left unlocked.  Some for just one minute to pay for gas and others were warming up in private driveways.

“So, it’s not worth the headache.  We encourage you to bundle up, get in your car and then start it,” said Adams.

That’s not bad advice.  But, don’t take off immediately.  Curts says warming up your car can prevent a different kind of headache: car problems.

“With the expansion and contraction that comes with the cold and the heat, during the contraction part of it on the suspension part, an engine part, things of that nature, those things really tighten up,” said Curts.

He says that can lead to part failure.

“The ball joint is completely snapped,” said Curts as he examined a car in his garage.

Warming up the car before going to or leaving work can save a bundle of cash and prevent maintenance work.

Where it may sound uncomfortable to sit in a freezing car for a few minutes each morning, it sure beats the alternative.

Those with remote start or keyless entry that allow people to leave their car locked while it’s running are at less risk.  That risk is up to you.  But, IMPD says absolutely do not leave your car running, unattended and unlocked. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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