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Joplin Sees An Increase In Stealing Running Cars Left To Warm Up - KOAM TV 7

Joplin Sees An Increase In Stealing Running Cars Left To Warm Up

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Low temperatures in the Four-States are said to be the blame for a rise, in car thefts. Joplin police have now recovered three vehicles stolen after drivers left them running and unattended.

It may feel good to step into a warm car when it's cold outside, but Joplin Police say there is a new rash of crime happening in town. And police are now urging drivers to resist the temptation of leaving cars running and unlocked this winter.

Chris Edwards of Joplin says he doesn't do it very often with his car, but when temperatures are low...

"I'll leave it running if it's really cold outside, if I'm running to the red box, or to air up my tires or something like that," Edwards said.
 
But what Edwards didn't know is that 20 cars have been stolen in Joplin since the start of last month, according to police. And over one quarter of those where taken from people just like Edwards, who left their cars running.

"they had gotten off work, stepped out, left there vehicle running and then stepped back inside and stepped back out and the vehicle was gone," Said Lt. Charla Geller of the Joplin Police Department.
 
She says the force is classifying the increase as a rash of "warm up and drive off" crimes of opportunity.

"A warm car is inviting not only to us, but to an individual who is walking and needs to go places as well," Geller said.
 
Geller says to always keep doors locked when cars are running, just in case. And we spoke with other drivers to see how they felt.

"For that reason exactly I always shut off my car, and most of the time I lock my vehicle," said Seth Torben of Joplin.
 
"That's kind of mean, I really wouldn't like anybody to do that to me!," said Rita Flores of Girard. 

"I've had my purse stolen out of my vehicle and it's not something I want to go through again," said Myra Dinger of Baxter Springs. 

And as for Edwards, he says it's definitely something he will think twice about from now on.

"I can't afford to buy a new car every time somebody steals it, so I need to make sure I lock it up I guess!," Edwards said.
  
Joplin Police tell me there where more than 520 auto thefts in Joplin in 2013, and that most of those could have been prevented, because a majority left keys in the car. For those looking for a way to keep their cars warm and doors locked -- there are some alternatives such as remote start devices.    

For a link to the Joplin Police Department, click here

 

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