INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – It’s a crime of opportunity: drivers desperate to avoid getting into a freezing car are leaving their cars running, unlocked and with the keys inside.
Byron Price’s neighbor on East 19th Street in Indianapolis was warming her car when it was stolen last week.
Price found his car was damaged in the process.
“When he ran out, he just hit it a little bit,” said Price.
His bumper, tail pipe and light were all broken.
“People are getting crazy in the cold. It’s probably just people walking around in the cold seeing people warming up their cars and saying I’m just gonna go up and steal it,” said Price.
Indianapolis police say they’ve received several reports of stolen cars since the temperatures dropped.
“There has been an uptick the last couple of days because it’s been so cold,” IMPD Officer Christopher Wilburn said.
Wilburn said it’s common for thieves to commit other crimes while they’re stealing cars or shortly after.
“We see that people use vehicles like this in the commission of crimes. You don’t want your car to be involved in a particular crime or vehicle pursuit,” he said.
That’s why he said that in many cases, a warm car just isn’t worth the risk.
“You don’t want to put yourself in this position, because we’ve seen it in the past – people often get their vehicle stolen and it’s just a headache to have to recoup that loss,” said Officer Wilburn.
Price almost put himself in that position, but after learning about what happened to his neighbor he thought twice.
“I started to do mine, but then I took my keys out. Ain’t nobody going to steal my car,” said Price.
If you want to stay safe and avoid getting into a cold car, police say an automatic car starter is your best bet.