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Stuart Johnson, KSL TV

Thefts of idling vehicles prompt warning from 2 Utah police agencies

By Sean Moody, KSL TV  |  Posted Jan 2nd, 2018 @ 7:01pm



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WEST JORDAN — Two Salt Lake Valley police agencies issued warnings about the danger of leaving cars to idle in driveways after several car owners reported thefts Tuesday.

West Valley City police said five people reported their cars were stolen between 7 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., and police in West Jordan said two people in that city reported thefts.

West Jordan Police Sgt. J.C. Holt said thieves often patrol neighborhoods looking for cars left running.

"The people start the car and go back in the house, leave it unlocked, idling in the driveway or along the street, and the thieves will just jump in and take off," Holt said.

In one case, Holt said the owner of a vehicle tried to stop the thief.

"The husband actually saw the suspect drive off in his car and he actually chased the suspect a little bit in his own personal car," the sergeant said. "(The man) lost sight of (the thief) pretty quickly, and we actually recovered that car. It was dumped in the neighborhood just a little bit away."

Holt said the recovery rate of stolen vehicles is fairly high, but often times, the challenge is trying to figure out what the thieves did or did not do to it.

"We get a lot of stolen cars recovered within a day, or a few days after they're stolen," Holt said. "The challenge is you don't know what this person (has) done in the car. They don't know how the car's been driven, how it's been taken care of. Oftentimes, we see police pursuits that end and the vehicle involved is a stolen vehicle."

West Jordan police don't have much of a description of the thieves in either of their cases, and they're looking into whether the same people might be responsible for both West Jordan and West Valley thefts.

Holt said the best idea is never to leave a running vehicle unattended. "Scrape your windows and remain with your car while it warms up. I know that that's not desirable for most people — they want a warm car — but it's better to have a car than have no car at all," he said.

Contributing: Xoel Cardenas

Sean Moody, KSL TV
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