Cold temperatures helping criminals

(AP Photo/Michael Probst)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) -Thieves continue to use dangerously cold temperatures to their advantage.

According to Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s Southeast district, 35 vehicles were stolen in the past week. In those cases all of the vehicles were left running, unattended with doors unlocked.

“We’ve been asking through social media, we’ve been asking community partners and asking people not to do that,” said IMPD Southeast Commander John Mann.

24-Hour News 8 discovered several vehicles left alone warming up.

In one case, we waited 25 minutes for someone to claim the vehicle and it never happened. Even after asking neighbors and knocking on doors we couldn’t find the owner.

Some residents had no knowledge of the number of vehicles that were recently stolen while warming up.

“I’m glad you told me that, I start my car up the same way,” said one man who didn’t want to be identified.

In some cases across the city, cars stolen while warming up have been used to commit other crimes.

IMPD recommends you stay with your vehicle while it is warming up at all times. If not, keeping your doors lock, leaving your vehicle in a visible area, and staying watchful are a couple of helpful tips.

The National Institutes of Health released a study giving tips on how to protect vehicle from.

*Never leave your car running or the keys in the ignition when you are away from it, even for “just a minute.”

*Keep valuables out of sight or in the trunk. Purses, credit cards, and cell phones in plain view only help attract thieves.

*Always roll up the windows and lock your car, even if it is in your driveway, garage, or in front of your home.

*Never leave the vehicle title in your car. If stolen, it makes it easier for the thief to dispose of your vehicle. It can also make you a target for identity theft.

*Be alert when approaching your car, have a plan of action, and have your keys in your hand. Check around, under, and in your vehicle for suspicious individuals. Immediately leave the scene to get help if you have any concerns for your safety.

*Only park your car in busy, well-lit areas. Install a mechanical locking device – commonly called a club, collar, or j-bar – that locks to the steering wheel, column, or brake. If your vehicle has an alarm or other anti-theft device, USE IT.

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