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Vehicle crime is on the increase ...

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It was just a question of time for this kind of crime to happen.

A few SA people, including myself, are still in the habit of leaving a car locked when it is idling in a parking lot.

I know of a case where someone climbed into and idling car in order to stay warm. He just sat and snoozed there till the owner arrived and got him to leave.

It has been rather cold here lately...


Joyriders take advantage of idling vehicles

Thursday January 17, 2008

Vehicles left idling in parking lots have become targets for local thieves, warn Fort McMurray RCMP.

Between Tuesday and Wednesday morning, police received 10 calls from owners who had their vehicles stolen after leaving them running with the doors unlocked.

"Most of these thefts are occurring at residences and in apartment complex parking lots," said Const. Martin Gaudet with the Fort McMurray RCMP.

"Folks, for whatever reason, are not securing their vehicle's doors and they fall victim to somebody looking to take advantage of the situation."

Wednesday, RCMP arrested six youths in connection to the 10 stolen vehicles.

Investigating officers were patrolling Thickwood Heights after recovering one stolen vehicle in the Father Patrick Mercredi High School parking lot, and then two more vehicles at Thickwood Heights arena, said Gaudet.

Police also spotted a silver Toyota 4-Runner, one of the reported stolen vehicles, driving on Silin Forest Road, he added.

Those arrested are between 13 and 15 and all six were charged with theft of a motor vehicle over $5,000 and taken to RCMP cells.

The youths were later released into their parent's custody.

Of the six arrested, two are facing more charges pending further investigation, said Gaudet.

Gaudet explained that when the weather is warm, McMurrayites don't leave their cars idling as often but when the weather drops to the low –20s the police will start receiving calls about stolen vehicles that were left unlocked while idling.

Out of 14 vehicles stolen since Jan. 10, Gaudet said 11 have been recovered.

"It seems to be people looking for a joy ride," said Gaudet.

"They're just opportunists."

Gaudet also said this kind of vehicle theft happens all over the city; no one area is being targeted.

The thefts seem to happen in the morning when people start their day and go out to warm-up their vehicles.

"It doesn't happen to people who have Command Start and can warm their vehicle with the doors locked," he added.

Gaudet advises residents needing to start their vehicles and let them run before they leave their homes to carry an additional set of keys so the vehicle doors can be locked.

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