‘Don’t do it. Period’: Police warn against ‘puffing’

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - With colder weather and snow in the forecast, the Colorado Springs Police Department is again warning people not to leave their cars running unattended, which is known as puffing.

“It is absolutely illegal,” said MJ Thomson, a crime prevention officer with CSPD.

So far this year, the police department said there have been about 200 puffing incidents. Thomson said some criminals actively look for victims on cold mornings.

“We actually have shown in the past there are groups that go out in the mornings, cold mornings, and they look for people puffing their vehicle,” he said. “Absolutely the case, and other times, it is crimes of opportunity.”

If you’re caught puffing, you could face a $60 fine.

“If we are seeing an uptick, and a lot of people puffing and vehicles being stole, we will send out a specific number of officers to go out and look for those violations,” Thomson said. “We try not to do that. We have a lot other things that are more prevalent; however, if it is a situation where we’re seeing it happen a lot, we will send officers out to look for those violations.”

The police department wants people to take a picture of their license plate and have a copy of their registration, so they can report the exact make, model, color and VIN number on the car. That will help officers track down the car if it is stolen.

CSPD said about 70 percent of cars that are stolen are recovered, but they’re often used in other crimes.

“It leads to a lot of other problems if somebody does get in your vehicle and drive off,” Thomson said. “People don’t realize it can turn into more than a motor vehicle theft. It can turn into a vehicle used in a pursuit with us, could be used in an armed robbery, could lead to identity theft, a plethora of things.”

Thomson said the only time people are allowed to leave their cars running unattended is if they have remote start with proper safety equipment.