Running car with keys inside gets stolen

Posted By: Bayley Bischof Channel 8 Eyewitness News

As much as you like defrosted windows and pre–heated cars on chilly Nebraska mornings, you could be making it far too easy for someone to steal your car.

It happened Monday morning, when a man filled up his tank at the U-Stop on West O street. "He pulled it up to the front of the building, parked it, left it running and ran in to grab coffee really quick and it was stolen in that short time frame,” Lincoln Police Officer Angela Sands said.

The truck was located minutes later by an officer who heard a vehicle description over the police radio. Jonathan Velez was taken into custody.

Sands said police see an increase in crimes like this every winter. There were 58 car thefts in October and 11 so far in November.

"During the winter months we tend to leave our vehicles running to keep them warm even when we just run in for less than a minute but this is when people will take advantage of that,” Sands said.

Sands said never leave your car unattended and running with the keys inside. "It’s a convenience thing but at the same time you’ll prevent a much bigger inconvenience if you take a couple of steps,” Sands said.

Sands said she suggests either sitting in your car while warming it up, or even locking it with a spare key to make it a little harder for criminals to take advantage of that opportunity.