Puffing can lead to car theft and other crimes

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LANCASTER, Pa. -- Law enforcement officials are warning people about leaving your vehicle running and unlocked - or puffing.

Puffing can not only lead to thieves stealing cars, but also to even bigger crimes.

Steven Wheeler, executive director of the Pennsylvania Auto Theft Prevention Authority, said, "There are a lot of common sense things you can do. The issue here is it doesn't cost you anything to prevent these thefts."

He said drivers should lock car doors and take the keys out of the vehicle every time.

Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said car theft can cause a ripple effect.

Stedman said, "Now you've got potential identity theft, burglary. They can get to your house faster than you can. You have probably GPS you just hit home. They can go in there. It's really frightening, really dangerous, and will affect your life far beyond just the loss of the car."

Thieves may steal keys left in the car, and can then use the car to commit another crime.

Wheeler said getting your car stolen also affects your daily routine.

"You can't go to work that day. You can't go pick up your spouse to take them to their doctor's appointment, you can't pick up a prescription, you can't be at the bus stop to get your child off the bus, you can't go on vacation tomorrow if that's what you were planning."

Puffing is against the law and is a $25 fine for the first offense and $50 for every subsequent offense.