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No Puffing: Don't Leave Your Car Running Unattended

By: Kendra Potter Email
By: Kendra Potter Email

It’s something that happens more than people think. In fact, 50 percent of cars stolen have the keys still in them, according to Coloradans Against Auto Theft.

Police call this a crime of opportunity and say it’s make you an easy target.

"I thought it was just a normal Monday morning and all the sudden my car is being driven off without me in it,” said Jeff Divelbiss.

Jeff Divelbiss and his wife Andrea say it was a scary feeling having their car stolen right from under their noses.

"Panic and adrenaline rush. I didn't really think too much other than 'Oh my gosh’,” said Jeff Divelbiss.

Jeff started his car to warm it up, he backed it out of the garage and left it running in the driveway.

“I walked inside for just a couple minutes and I was talking to my wife Andrea inside and see happened to look out the window and saw my car backing out the driveway and said, 'Your car is being stolen’,” said Jeff.

It’s called “puffing” and thieves are watching for it. Something that Jeff says never crossed his mind.

“I’m thinking about Monday, the things I have to do that day, getting to work, staying warm, and getting my car warm. I’m not thinking about putting myself out there and being vulnerable at that time and unfortunately I’m very vulnerable and so it anybody else who does it as well,” said Jeff.

The couple was able to get their car back, but say this is a lesson learned.

"I've done it before and I won't be doing it again,” said Jeff.

It is illegal to leave your car running unattended. You can be cited for “puffing”.

Experts say if you must warm your car up, never walk away not even for a minute, and always lock the doors.

They also remind you while shopping this holiday season to park in well-lit areas, lock your car, and cover up any valuables in the car such as gifts, electronics or purses, or place them in the trunk hidden from view.

Coloradans Against Auto Theft also recommend that you never leave a spare set of keys in the car, and report any suspicious behavior.

Auto theft is a big problem in Southern Colorado. According to the most recent stats from the National Insurance Crime Bureau Pueblo is number one for auto theft cities in Colorado in 2010 when looking at per capita.

When looking at actual rankings Colorado Springs is 3rd in the state with 11,000 thefts and Pueblo is 8th with 5,000 in 2010.

For more tips on how you can prevent auto theft or what to do if you are a victim visit www.lockdownyourcar.org.


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