Watch Live: Outside the Utah State Prison, where Wanda Barzee will be released today

Salt Lake City Police say cars left unattended while warming up make easy targets for thieves

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SALT LAKE CITY – There is a recent uptick in a highly preventable crime – cars being stolen while warming up and left unattended.

“The most common response is, I just turned around for a minute, I just left the car for a minute,” said Lt. Brian Lohrke of the Unified Police Department.

Lohrke estimates his department receives about one call each day of a car being stolen while its owner went back inside a building.

Salt Lake City Police say between October 13th and December 7th, 43 cars were stolen while warming up.

“It’s not worth it,” said Det. Richard Chipping with the Salt Lake City Police Department. “Christmas is going to be less fun. These guys are Christmas Grinches out there trying to spoil the holiday season.”

Police believe thieves lurk in neighborhoods, just waiting for unsuspecting residents to let down their guard.

“People literally are out in the morning time," Chipping said. "They know the cars are warming up, and they walk around or drive around with their buddies and they will wait and see whose car is warming up."

Officials say common sense can save car owners from a major headache. When it comes to the cold, it just isn’t worth the risk to leave your car unattended while you wait for the heater to do its job.

“Put on a coat, scrape your windows, and get in and start driving,” Det. Chipping said.