Rash of cars stolen from NEJC driveways has police warning against leaving unlocked vehicles warming up

Photo credit Martin Cathrae.

On a cold winter morning, it can be tempting to start your car in the driveway and let it warm up for a few minutes before you have to get in.

It can also be tempting for thieves to drive off in said car.

Northeast Johnson County law enforcement agencies report that residents in Prairie Village, Roeland Park and Overland Park all had unattended running vehicles stolen from driveways Monday morning.

The rash of thefts prompted Fairway Police Chief Mike Fleming to issue a warning to residents, reminding them how easy it can be for a criminal to make off with a car left unattended for even a short period of time.

“Car thieves can spot a car with the engine running from blocks away and it takes just seconds for somebody to run up your driveway, open a car door, and drive off,” Fleming said. “The car is just one concern; usually the key ring has your house and maybe an office key on it, a key to other cars you own, or in some cases a pouch that has your ID and credit cards.”

Fleming noted that the risk is not limited to residential driveways. Police have seen running cars taken from outside convenience stores and day cares. He offered the following advice to people who want to keep their cars warm and running in cold weather:

  • If you must start your car and leave it please lock the doors and use a spare key to get back in.
  • A remote start can be purchased for a very reasonable fee (compared to a deductable) and will prevent anybody from stealing the car.
  • Do not leave valuables in the car. If they get in your car don’t give them the means to destroy you financially. Identity theft, credit card fraud, and check fraud will occur if the wrong people have your information.