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Thieves Find Warming Cars Easy Targets

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RALEIGH — reallycold weather hits theTriangle one local survival technique is the "warming up" of the familyvehicle. You know the routine: run out in a bathrobe and boots, start thecar, the defroster, and the heater, and run back in to change clothes.

In the long run, however, police say this could become an expensivehabit since car thieves don't take the winter season off.

Rental agent pat Reeves says it's never a good idea to leave anunattended car running.

Choosing which car to hit can be easy for a thief. All he has to lookfor is the billow of steam coming out of the exhaust pipe into the frigidair. Mechanic Greg Williamson says it's a dead giveaway.

Whether that tempting, early-morning steam cloud is in front of a houseor in a public parking lot, to a thief it's an invitation. Shonda Coxsaysshehasto leave her car running in cold weather, but she takesprecautions.

Police say ifyou have any choice at all in the matter, turn the car off if you don'twant to lose it.

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