Harrisburg Police cracking down on unattended vehicles

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- It only takes a few seconds for someone to get in your car and drive away.

In the last week, 7 cars that were left running while unattended were stolen in a 24-hour period in Harrisburg.

“Most of the times these vehicles are stolen in the morning or from convenience stores, people leave their vehicles running because it’s a convenience for them, they want to get into a warm car or they just don’t want to shut off the vehicle," said Captain Gabriel Olivera, Harrisburg Bureau of Police.

That’s exactly why Harrisburg Police are cracking down.

“Any officer within the state if they see a vehicle running has the authority to go into the vehicle, take the keys from the vehicle after it’s been shut off and secure the car," added Olivera.

Keys are then put into evidence, leaving vehicle owners to pick them up at the police station, following a $54 payment in citations and fees.

“I think it’s a little ridiculous that you have to pay a fee," said Michael Stoute of Harrisburg.

“Yeah that’s a little bit extra, I feel like putting a ticket on a windshield might be a little but more effective in that instance," said Tiffany Smith of North Milton Township.

“That’s a real big inconvenience, like if I was going to work that morning and I lost my job because of something that, I’d be really mad," added Jarred Tritt of Carslile.

But Captain Olivera says that inconvenience could save a life.

“We actually had an incident a year ago, where Lt. Devoe was killed, and with that incident, a young lady, took a vehicle that was left at a convenience store running, she got into the vehicle, stole it, and actually ran into him and killed him," said Olivera."The worst thing that can actually happen, your car gets stolen, your car gets totaled, your car gets involved in a crime, or God forbid that car gets involved in something where someone dies," he added.