Indianapolis man, 87, among dozens of car theft victims this week

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SOUTHEAST SIDE — You’ll want to think twice before warming up your car before you leave home, after thieves stole close to 40 cars in just four days across Indianapolis.

It’s a crime that happens very fast. A thief spots a car running and unlocked, jumps right in and takes off. It could easily happen to you.

“We didn’t hear nobody out there. We didn’t see no one. All I know is it was gone,” James Ogden said.

Ogden, 87, was leaving on Christmas Eve to eat dinner with family. His son started the car to warm it up, then went inside to help Ogden, who uses a walker. In that time the car was swiped.

“(We) started out the door and it was gone,” Ogden said.

Ogden’s wheelchair was in the trunk, along with two blankets made by his sister and another special item.

“A quilt that my mother-in-law made … was in there. Those things you can’t replace,” Ogden said.

He’s hoping his 2003 silver Taurus will turn up and he’s not the only one with this problem.

Starting on Christmas Eve, in just four days thieves stole nearly 40 cars across the city. Half of those cars were warming up in driveways.

“It will take a second for that robber to unlock that door, say, ‘Hey it’s open,'” Ofc. Christopher Wilburn with IMPD said.

Wilburn showed Fox 59 how easy it is to steal a car that’s warming up.

“(Just) jump inside and within seconds, I’m gone. … (You need to) put yourself at a better position (so that) you aren’t the victim of a theft,” Wilburn said.

Warming up your car at all is not safe anymore, even if you use a spare key to lock it. You need to stay in the locked car instead.

Wilburn said he also sees valuables left in plain sight all the time.

Ogden knows exactly why the warning is so important and is none too pleased to be one of the ones who was targeted.

“Well, I’d like to put my foot where it shouldn’t be,” Ogden said.

If your car is stolen, report it right away. Officers say that increases the chances that they can use newer technology to track it down, like GPS tracking.