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Unattended vehicles warming up are easy targets for thieves

SASKATOON – Getting into a warm car in the winter is a simple pleasure in life, but is it worth the risk? Leaving a car running with the keys in the ignition, even for just a moment, gives thieves an easy opportunity to strike.

“Almost half of the vehicles that we have stolen in Saskatoon are a result of the keys being in the ignition or being close to the ignition,” said Saskatoon police Staff Sgt. Grant Obst.

On Saturday, there were two motor vehicle thefts and one attempted theft in Saskatoon.

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“A lot of the time, vehicle theft is a crime of opportunity. The individual isn’t actually looking to steal the vehicle. They’re perhaps rooting through the vehicle for change or something like that and then they come across the keys and now a theft turns into a motor vehicle theft,” said Obst.

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In one case, a man left his keys in the ignition while stopping for coffee in the 600-block of 22nd Street West.

It didn’t take long for the inevitable to occur. The owner noticed the theft when he saw his car being driven out of the parking lot. The accused was later arrested in the 500-block of Avenue J South.

Police continue to warn the public against leaving cars unattended while running or leaving keys in the vehicle.

“The police have been speaking to citizens of Saskatoon. I know the chief of police in Regina was just recently out front and centre asking people to keep the keys away from the vehicle, but we don’t seem to be getting that message across so we’ll keep trying,” said Obst.

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