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Beware of warm-up thieves

Friday, December 13th 2019, 3:34 pm - Warm-up thieves wait for cold days to strike

It's cold out and no one likes to get into a freezing car, but warming your vehicle up may not be the best idea.

As temperatures drop, warm up thefts have been an ongoing issue across the Greater Toronto Area. Police say it only takes seconds for a thief to strike and it can happen anywhere including, residential areas, on a vehicle owner's driveway, convenience stores and gas stations.

"All they need to do is check to see if the vehicle is unlocked. They can jump in and take off and they are gone," says Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Kerry Schmidt. "I don't think it's specific to one location. We may hear reports of it in certain locations, but its something that can happen anywhere across the country."

The issue was thrust into the spotlight in December 2014 after a vehicle was stolen at a gas station in Mississauga, Ontario with a 9-month-old baby inside as the mother was inside paying for fuel.

York Regional Police say there are between 30 and 40 reported in the area each year. The criminals scour the region and do their research to see what people's routines are. The stolen vehicles can range from high-end to low-end in value and most times are put into containers and shipped overseas.

"Don't leave your vehicle running, don't leave it unlocked, don't make it easy for thieves to take your car."

Here are some other quick tips:

  • Never leave your vehicle running and unattended - even in your driveway.
  • If you must warm up your car, use a remote starter or lock the vehicle and use a spare key.
  • Park the vehicle as close to you as possible.
  • At home, install a motion activated light in your driveway.
  • Never leave your valuable items in plain view.



Editor's note: This article was repuposed from a previous article published in 2016.

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