Thieves prey on unsuspecting motorists who leave vehicles running

Edmonton, Alberta – Incidents of stolen vehicles left idling are heating up again, as temperatures outside cool and winter settles in across the city.

Between Oct. 30th and Nov. 8th, the Edmonton Police Service investigated 33 reports of stolen vehicles, wherein the motorist had left the vehicle running in a driveway, on a street or in a commercial parking lot. A total of 17 of those vehicles left running were stolen from southeast Edmonton locations.

“There are 33 motorists, who over the last 10 days, have had their vehicles stolen, after leaving them running outside,” said Ron Smithman, EPS Southeast Division Watch Commander. “It’s the same thing every year when winter arrives – motorists try to warm up their vehicles only to return to find their expensive vehicles gone.

“It’s not worth the stress that residents are going to put themselves through, not to mention the drain on police resources, when your stolen idling vehicle is used in a broader crime spree that impacts multiple victims.”

On Wednesday, Nov. 8th, at approximately 7 a.m., the 23-year-old owner of a Ford F-150 truck came outside to warm up his vehicle, before returning inside his Mill Woods-area home. Within two minutes, a male and female suspect spotted the running, unlocked, vehicle, jumped into it, and drove away leaving the owner shocked and without his truck.

“We live in a northern city, which eventually leads to some unbearably cold temperatures at times throughout the winter months. We want to encourage people to shut off their vehicles – even if they’re only running inside a gas bar to pay for fuel, or a daycare to drop off the kids in the morning.”

In the 60 seconds or less that it takes for someone to pay for their purchases inside a store, an auto thief has already disappeared from sight with your vehicle, and is often perpetrating other crimes with it across the city, explained Staff Sgt. Smithman.

“It’s just not worth it. Lock your vehicle doors and take the keys with you. Don’t leave your vehicle running….or you may be walking.”

Automatic vehicle starters may be costly, but a wise investment. AVS’s are designed to shut off the engine if someone attempts to drive away in a vehicle without a key in its ignition.

Edmonton Police Service
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