Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
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Nadine Wimmer reporting Police want your help looking for a person of interest in a series of car thefts. They belive Steven Tripp may have information that will help them solve a surge in car thefts, especially on the Salt Lake Valley's east side.
This is a problem every winter. And when you see what Nadine Wimmer found, you'll know why it's a crime of opportunity.
Here's the problem: It's so cold outside, we're all tempted to keep our cars running, so they'll be warm. We've heard the warnings, but they don't appear to be sinking in. We went on the prowl to help you Stay Safe.
Our camera took the view of a car thief, driving around, looking for an easy catch. And on this cold morning, we found one warming up unattended, in a matter of minutes.
Just down the street, another car running, no one in sight. Then, another, and another. In all, we found 10 vulnerable cars in less than an hour.
"I walked out here and looked, and there was nothing. It was empty," says Jeri Wehrli. "It finally hit me, someone's stolen my car."
She learned the hard way, when her brand new Nissan Pathfinder was stolen. It was running just feet from her front door, for just a few minutes.
Wehrli: "It's so maddening. Someone has a brand new car, and they're getting away with it."
In her Holladay neighborhood and others on the east bench, Sheriff's deputies say they've seen a paticular increase. But no neighborhood, no car, is exempt.
Lt. Reed Parkin/ Salt Lake County Sheriff's Dept.: "It's an easy target, and we'd like to caution our citizens to supervise their cars. It's too easy to have them stolen."
Many stolen cars are found, but not usually in the same condition.
Police say if you have to leave your car running, lock it. But warming up with your car is the only way to be sure.
Lt. Reed Parkin: "There's enough thugs out there (that) we just need to police ourselves."
Jeri Wehrli: "From now on, boy, that'll be me sitting in my car for five minutes while it warms up. It's just not worth losing that much."
Another alternative-- you can stay warm inside, but supervise your car through the front window.