Local News

Cars stolen while being left to de-ice

Posted January 6, 2010 1:29 a.m. EST
Updated January 6, 2010 5:48 a.m. EST

— The Raleigh Police Department is urging residents not to leave vehicles running, even for short periods of time. Every winter, vehicles are stolen as motorists let them warm up before driving.

Carolyn Culbreth, a Raleigh mother working two jobs, likes to warm her car up early in the morning before driving to work.

“I was always told that you always warm your car up a little bit,” she said.

Culbreth said she was inside her home on Chatmoss Drive for just a few minutes when it was stolen.

“I could hear my car taking off and when I ran out on the front porch, the car was at the end of the road,” she recalled.

Among the 16 cars stolen over the last week, Raleigh police said five were left unattended and running. The cars were stolen in front of homes, apartment complexes and convenient stores.

“Under no circumstances do we encourage them to leave their cars unattended while it's running,” Raleigh police Capt. Kim Swinson said.

Narcisco Simon said his car was stolen around 9 p.m. Monday after he left it running and unattended on N. New Hope Road. He said he has since had a second set of keys made so he can lock his vehicle while warming it's up.

"When I start it, I lock my car and go inside," Simon explained.

Culbreth said she isn't taking any more chances. With her car stolen, she is now using her mother's vehicle.

“So I know tomorrow morning, when I start her car, I got to stay in it and then go on my journey,” Culbreth said.

When keys are left inside, car theft victims often have to pay to change the locks to their home and car. Police recommend investing in a remote car starter to avoid becoming a theft victim.