Police warn drivers of rising number of car thefts

MIAMI VALLEY — Dayton Police are warning residents about protecting their cars from getting stolen and potentially becoming suspects in crimes.

The warning came after a recent surge in people stealing cars, a crime police call Grand Theft Auto.

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While in some cases, police are able to get stolen vehicles back to their owners quickly, but when a stolen car is involved in a crash or used in a crime, it could become a problem for the vehicle’s owner.

Dayton Police Sgt. Gordon Cairns told News Center 7′s Mike Campbell that in cases where a stolen car is involved in a crash or crime, then the vehicle’s owner would be considered a suspect until the vehicle is verified as stolen.

Cairns said most car thefts are crimes of opportunity and said drivers should break themselves of certain bad habits that could make their cars vulnerable of Grand Theft Auto.

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“Don’t leave your keys in the car or under the seat at night and parked in the driveway,” Cairns said. “If you go to the gas station, don’t leave the car running at the pump while you go in, especially don’t leave children and dogs in the car.”

As the temperatures drop, this becomes especially true for drivers who warm up their cars before prior to leaving for work and to run to the store. Leaving the car running to heat up while drivers continue to get ready leaves the car even more vulnerable to getting the car stolen.