Lancaster County police department blames cold for recent car thefts

You know the feeling of getting in a cold car?

First thing you do is crank that dial, and let the heat flow.

“It's cold out, and you can’t run the car when it’s cold. That’s hard on the car,” said one Lancaster County resident.

Not to mention, it’s uncomfortable.

Which is why some people we spoke with say they’ll sometimes start the car and go back inside until it heats up.

“I’m confident that my truck will be where it is when I go back to if after I’ve started it,” said another Lancaster County resident.

But it’s that confidence, that Manheim Township Police say is causing an uptick in car thefts in Lancaster County.

“We understand that it’s cold out and people want to warm up their vehicles, but when you turn your vehicle on to warm it up and then leave it unattended and unlocked running, it’s a crime of opportunity that now we can see hands down people are taking advantage of that,” said Sgt. Mike Piacentino.

Sgt. Piacentino says the department has dealt with three instances of car theft over the last week and a half, all due to people leaving their cars running and unattended.

“This time around it seems that it has happened soon and more frequent this year than in previous years,” said Sgt. Piacentino.

One of those vehicles was stolen right out of a Turkey Hill parking lot while the owner was inside.

Another was stolen outside of the owner’s home in a residential neighborhood.

And Sgt. Piacentino says the best way to prevent it from happening to you, is to not give thieves an easy opportunity.

“It’s not worth not having your car and being late for something, or some other situation where you could easily prevent that. Just turn the car off and wait until you get inside,” said Sgt. Piacentino.

Leaving an idling vehicle on a public street is actually illegal according to state law.

As for leaving a running car unattended in a driveway or parking lot, that varies by town, so make sure to check with your local government to learn the rules about your area.

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