Archive for Friday, January 14, 2011

Lawrence police report vehicles stolen as owners leave them to warm up in the cold

January 14, 2011, 12:10 p.m. Updated January 14, 2011, 2:19 p.m.


On the street

Do you leaving your car running to warm it before driving?

No, I don’t. I live in an apartment building so I just don’t.

More responses

Lawrence police are warning residents not to leave their cars unattended as they try to warm them up in colder weather after five cars have been stolen in the last week.

“Don’t leave it in your driveway where they can see exhaust because they are going to take it,” said Sgt. Matt Sarna, a police spokesman. “Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to that type of situation.”

Sarna said four of the vehicles have been recovered. Police are still looking for the fifth vehicle.

“Locking the doors may deter some thieves, but many will simply break the glass using a rock or tool in order to gain entry into the vehicle,” Sarna said.

Sarna said residents should not leave their vehicles running and unattended whether they are in the driveway or if they run briefly inside to grab something at a convenience store.

It’s also against a city ordinance to leave running vehicles, and a violation can carry an $80 fine plus $53 in court costs.

Police see these types of thefts every winter, Sarna said, but officers are concerned to have so many in a short period of time.

“This year we’ve seen more than we want to see,” he said.

Other tips, Sarna said, include:

• Turn off the engine, remove the key and lock your vehicle each time you leave it.

• Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.

• Anyone with information about a stolen vehicle or another crime can all police at 785-832-7650 or Douglas County Crime Stoppers at 785-843-TIPS (8477).


Kelly Anderson 5 years ago

geez, I would give anything for someone to take my car when it's warming up...just sayin'

Kelly Anderson 5 years ago

obviously a car that no one will steal, darn it!

hujiko 5 years ago

I remember a couple years back when a sheriff deputy had his cruiser stolen from his driveway under similar conditions. Nobody's safe.

ksriver2010 5 years ago

Just five? That many are stolen from in front of one Quik Trip on any given morning in Wichita as people leave their cars running in the cold to go and buy their smokes.

DillonBarnes 5 years ago

It's a vicious cycle, you head into the shop and come out to find your car missing, what do you do!? Oh look, another car is running!

somedude20 5 years ago

Well, if you do have the car running and it does get taken just say that the thief must have found my spare key that I keep in the car in case of emergency. Who are the police going to believe, the crook who stole the car or a fine upstanding victim?

John Hamm 5 years ago

Quite possibly the thief as the keyring, etc. would still be available.... And then they have you for providing false information......

somedude20 5 years ago

i have a spare key that is just the key, no flair on it and I use that to start the car. I would still have my other key(s) with the flair that I can show to the police backing up my story. And then they would take the car thief to jail

JayhawkAlum03 5 years ago

I completely misread the headline the first time around. Thought that the Lawrence Police had four of their cars stolen while they were warming up.

gccs14r 5 years ago

At least lock the doors and set the parking brake if you're going to leave it running.

Clark Coan 5 years ago

So, four recovered? Must be joyriders as serious auto thieves would have had them in a chop shop in KC within the hour.

Stuart Evans 5 years ago

with modern fuel injection engines, you really don't need to warm up your car more than about 30 seconds. It's going to warm up much faster under normal driving, than it would by leaving it idling in your driveway. additionally, after about 30 seconds in front of the convenience store, you're using more gas to idle than it would have taken to just restart the car.

Stuart Evans 5 years ago

or you could just suck it up, wear another layer of clothes, scrape your windows, and be on your way, completely avoiding the problem of having your unattended car stolen.

gccs14r 5 years ago

An ice scraper is much cheaper. I start mine manually, then scrape the side windows while the defrosters work on the front and back ones.

Stuart Evans 5 years ago

yeah, that would be nice. but everyone seems to want to charge $300-$350...must be the installation.

yoornotmee 5 years ago

What about people with small children (perhaps a toddler and a newborn?) Should they move to a warmer climate rather than wait a couple of minutes for the car to warm up? I mean, geez, I love Lawrence, and it was ranked in the top 5 towns to raise children in (by the New York Times, I think), but I guess I should move to California or something, away from my family and friends and away from this town I love, because I let my car warm up for a couple of minutes before I get my kids in.

gccs14r 5 years ago

"after about 30 seconds in front of the convenience store, you're using more gas to idle than it would have taken to just restart the car."

More like 10 seconds these days. Modern cars are very easy to start and don't use accelerator pumps or butterfly chokes to dump extra gas in the engine.

In Germany it is customary to shut the engine off at a stoplight if you're 4 or more cars back from the light. British Columbia has a "no idling" statute that makes it a requirement to shut the engine off when standing in line. If you're paying attention, it doesn't take any time at all to restart the engine and get under way without being a traffic obstruction.

doc1 5 years ago

Here is a fact. This city has never EVER issued a ticket to someone for that. EVERY police officer does it with their own cars. I would say your fine if you lock the doors. None of the stolen cars had their windows busted out. They were simply unlocked. This is a bs blanket cover PR statement. Sarna doesn't really expect people to not warm up their cars un-attended. BTW. Sarna = great guy.

pace 5 years ago

I think they have issued a ticket for that.

doc1 5 years ago

Not according to Municipal Court. If they wrote it they never turned it in.

Scotchguard 5 years ago

Yes, the police HAVE issued tickets for leaving a car idling with no one in it, even if the doors are locked. I received one and paid the fine.

otto 5 years ago

Get a remote start - they work great. If someone steals your car while it is running on remote start, they knew how to steal it anyway even if it's not running.

Henry_the_liberal 5 years ago

I have a way around this, I warm up the car with the garage door closed so nobody can get to it. Then I... I... excuse me, I'm suddenly feeling sleepy.

gphawk89 5 years ago

Alternative solution. Small space heater and an extension cord. Plug it in about a half hour before you need to leave and the car will be mildly warm with frost-free windows. Costs maybe five cents a day. Cheaper than running the car, at least in my case because my car takes forever to warm up. Haven't set the car on fire - yet.

verity 5 years ago

Space heater, extension cord? I hope you're joking.

I think there are some heaters made expressly for that purpose. May cost more, but really---

notanoobhere 5 years ago

all four cars have been found in gaslight scumbag court and edgewood trash housing.

pace 5 years ago

“Locking the doors may deter some thieves, but many will simply break the glass using a rock or tool in order to gain entry into the vehicle,” Sarna said.

I wonder if Sarna is being accurate here. How many of the 5 stolen cars were locked. Is the answer, none of the five?

I also wonder. is someone blowing smoke when they claim information of who stole cars and where they were found? It seems possibly a cheap shot to express personal prejudice. My prejudice is not financial class but age and sex. Not very many grandmas but it is possible. Watch the emerging elderly females, they are coming into their own demographics..

Andrew Reeves 5 years ago

I have an idea....STAKEOUT! Have a couple police wait with the owner inside the home and leave the car running outside. When the bad guys come a robbin', bust 'em!

230 5 years ago

Who cares! I will still go and warm my vehicle up whenever it is cold outside. If my vehicle is locked with or without it running it is still and auto theft / auto burglary. If they want our car(s) they will always find a way to get it. Yes, I know I'm making it easer for them to take it but I'M NOT MAKING THEM COMMIT A CRIME! I'm just a hard working person that warms my vehicle up with the doors LOCKED so I don't have to be cold when I leave my home.

booyalab 5 years ago

That sounds way too entertaining to be legal.

Matt Torres 5 years ago

Good luck convincing them you were waiting with a weapon "scared" in your bushes.

"Honest, officers, I just happened to be back there with crowbar...uhm...gardening...on a cold day..."

geekin_topekan 5 years ago

Get a Club^tm . Can't turn the wheel, no point in trying.

Maybe a device that will emit 50,000 volts if the door handle is disturbed. That would be ideal. Or a death ray that reduces the perp to a pile of ashes.

squawkhawk 5 years ago

KU BB players on the loose again.

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