Former car thief offers advice to Utah drivers

SALT LAKE CITY – It’s that time of year; car thefts are on the rise.

“It’s a crime of opportunity; I’m only going to steal something that’s running,” said a former car thief who talked to FOX 13 under the guise of a different name, Ralph Hanley.

“We just went into suburbs and in the morning, 5, 6 in the morning, all the cars are running," he said.

Hanley said car exhaust was the easiest thing to be on the lookout for.

Utah drivers who warm their cars and leave them unattended are the easiest target, he said.

“Just don’t leave your car running," he said. "The biggest flaw is that people think it can’t happen to you. It’s going to happen to you because you left your car running."

Salt Lake City Police say new technology is making it even easier for people to steal cars these days.

“They think, ‘Well, I got my fob in my pocket so, I can go inside because they can’t leave without my car keys,'” Salt Lake Police Det. Robert Ungricht said. “As long as the car has been started, they can drive as far as they want until they have to restart the car.”