Bismarck police say ‘tis the season for ‘warm-up thefts’

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Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 4:31 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - ‘Tis the season for “warm-up thefts,” the stealing of or from a car left running and unattended in cold weather. A motor vehicle is stolen every 43.8 seconds in the United States according to the US Department of Transportation and half of those thefts occur with the keys in the ignition.

Bismarck police say while the winter so far has been mild, they expect an increase in opportunistic vehicle break-ins this time of year. They also say the best course of action is prevention.

“We get Ring video camera footage or surveillance footage which is very helpful. You know if we get a vehicle description or description of the person, sometimes the clothing they are wearing or shoes, is a big tip for us. But it is a challenge for law enforcement to get it back. If it is an item that is not pawnable they may just keep it for themselves and then it is tough to track,” said Clint Fuller, crime prevention/community engagement officer for the Bismarck Police Department.

Officer Clint Fuller recommends people park in high-traffic, well-lit areas, use a spare key to lock a car that’s warming up, and hide or remove valuables and Christmas presents. Officers add that license plates are often stolen to be used for other crimes, so drivers should make it a habit to check their plates.

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