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Police: Unattended, heating-up cars get stolen

Puffing is something many of us are guilty of as colder temperatures settle in
Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 7:15 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - If you’ve heated up your car without actually being inside, you have puffed. Snow and freezing temperatures make it tempting, but police warn it often leads to vehicle theft.

“The cost of puffing is you have your vehicle stolen,” said Colorado Springs Police Department spokesperson Lt. James Sokolik. He warns that criminals who prey on this may be in your neighborhood. “We have organized groups of people who come in, four or five people in a car in one neighborhood, they drop somebody off for each one.”

Puffing is referred to as such because of the visible “puff" seen coming from a car’s exhaust system in cold temperatures.

The number of cars stolen as a result of puffing more than doubled from September to October in 2018 and 2019, according to Colorado Springs Police Department statistics. It’s also the reason for 11 percent of vehicle thefts in the city year-round.

Police say if you heat your car up in your garage, the stakes increase along with the temptation for potential criminals.

“A lot of times you have your garage door open, where you have your stuff, so there’s always the chance that somebody may come back later and burglarize your house,” Sokolik said.

Police say you’re best off dressing warm and allowing time to clear your car of snow and ice as opposed to puffing.

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