Transcript for Warming Up Your Car Could Make You a Target for Theft
Back now with "Gma on the lookout" and winter warning for drivers leaving your keys in a running car to warm it up might make you feel more comfortable when you get in it but not if you get outside and the car is gone altogether. Seems pretty obvious but cops say it does happen all too often. ABC's Clayton Sandell has the details. He joins us now from highlands ranch, Colorado. Good morning to you, Clayton. Reporter: And good morning, Lara. Yeah, it seems innocent. It's a cold morning. You want to start your car up and warm it up but maybe you go into the store to grab a cup of coffee. It only takes a minute but that's exactly what car thieves are looking for. Watch these car thieves roll up on an idling car in Denver and seeing it's empty moments later steal it. This guy scouts a car, parks, approaches and darts to open the door but it's locked. The homeowner sees what's going on and scares the Steve away. Here in this parking lot a thief casually walks then speeds up to get in a car. The owner comes out to try to stop him but it's too late. Cars left running to warm up on cold mornings, cops call them puffers, bad guys call them a golden opportunity and police departments around the country are warning drivers to not leave their running cars unattended. Came out, started up the car. Less than 60 seconds. Reporter: That's all it took to steal Gregory Carroll's car but they got away with the keys to his second car, later that night they came back to steal that one too. Give me back my car. Reporter: Some people may not realize in many states it's illegal to leave a car idling with the keys inside and depending on your state and county that could even mean in your own driveway but more people seem to be doing it. Nearly 45,000 cars stolen in 2014 had the keys in the ignition. We got people leaving the cars running everywhere. In Lakewood, Colorado, we hit the streets with sergeant Dave Hoover. Within minutes his officers spot dozens of puffers idling in 18 degree weather in front of homes and stores. You know why I'm bothering you. No. The car is left running unattended while you're inside the store. You can't do that. Reporter: This driver hit with a $57 ticket. I wanted to sit in a warm car on the way to work. Reporter: Rick boyer's puffer car has just been stolen. Pulled out. Windows are frosty, go back inside and in there maybe four minutes, come outside. Car is gone. Reporter: It cause a crime ripple effect beyond just the owners. Seen them used in drive-by shootings, burglaries and a series of bank robberies where they were stealing puffers as a way to get to and from the robbery scene. Reporter: On a cold morning a little shivering is better than a lot of stealing. That's when what they made gloves for. Now, one police chief in Colorado tells me if he could keep people from leaving their puff he cars on the street he could actually cut car theft in his city by 20%. Lara. That's unbelievable. Seems so logical. Clayton, thank you so much. Happening more and more. Amy -- It happened to me in a parking garage. Had my key in the car, he must have taken a break and, boom, car is gone. Yep. So, be careful. Watch those puffer covers. Coming up an important alert
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