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Car theft increase poses risks to residents

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Amarillo, TX - A growing crime in our area is placing residents at risk.

The cold weather has people heating up their cars while they wait inside.

Amarillo Police say 79 vehicles were stolen in January alone, an increase over last year.

Officers say they've seen cars stolen right in front of day cares, where children have been taken with the car.

Typically once the thief realizes there's a kid in the back seat, they don't want to be connected to that crime.

The bad part is that they will just drop the car off anywhere.

It's not uncommon for a thief to steal a car from one area, drive it around for a few hours, drop it off somewhere else and then steal another one.

Police say sometimes those cars are used to commit crimes.

Although the car is often recovered within a few days, it doesn't mean they are in the same shape.

We're told that sometimes they've been wrecked, burned, trashed on the inside and parts have been stolen.