by Justin Kree
ODESSA - It's a problem that police see every year during the winter, cars being left running to thaw out or warm up the engine before driving off. Police say if you're not careful, it will be someone else driving off with your car.
"When it's a lot colder, people leave their keys in the ignition. They will start their cars and go back inside. Unfortunately, the vast majority of vehicles being stolen here in Odessa are from people leaving their keys in the ignition," Odessa Police Sergeant, Steve LeSueur, said.
LeSueur says Odessa has about 40 stolen cars during the winter months. He says the city is cracking down on people who leave their cars running unattended. The purpose is to save you from becoming a victim.
"This ordinance is in place to prevent your vehicle from being stolen. As a result, the Odessa Police Department does have a task force that will go out and give citations to people at convenience stores and other public places for leaving their vehicle with the keys in the ignition," LeSueur said.
In Midland, police see cars being stolen in the winter as well. Careless mistakes by the victim is mostly the cause. Even the well-lit neighborhoods could become targets because the suspect might be a child.
"Kids see an opportunity to drive a brand new vehicle or a different vehicle. They go hop in that car and take it around the block. Kids get scared and they will dump the vehicle," Midland Police Sergeant, Jimmy Young, said.
Young gave some helpful advice before the wrong person is behind the wheel of your car.
"If you know it's going to be cold the next morning, give yourself 10-15 extra minutes. Hop in your vehicle and listen to the radio while your car warms up. Don't take the chances to be the victim of a stolen vehicle," Young said.