Police remind drivers not to leave keys in ignition while warming cars up

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Nearly a dozen cars were stolen after people left their keys in the ignition. Many of them told detectives they wanted to warm their cars up before heading out.

Jessica Downey left her key in the ignition Monday afternoon. She was walking toward her home, when her car was stolen.

“I was just going in to switch my baby’s coat and she’s (got) a runny nose. So, I can’t switch her from cold to not cold to cold to not,” Downey said.

Downey’s car was parked outside her home on North Gladstone Avenue.

“I heard my door slam and I turned around and it was like a ghost. It was gone,” Downey said.

Someone took her 2001 black Toyota Camry. Her car is dented on the back, right side.

“It’s killing me because I’m very independent and that guy took that from me,” Downey said.

Downey is not the only person whose car was stolen. In the last three days, IMPD took nearly a dozen reports of stolen cars with a key left in the ignition. Downey did not think it could happen to her.

“As I was opening the door and putting the key in the ignition, I was thinking and looking around. God, you know, nah it’s not going to happen. Nobody’s around,” Downey said.

IMPD detectives want people to remember to take precautions.

“This is more a crime of opportunity and that’s why we do see a little bit of an increase this time of year over the winter months,” Officer Michael Hewitt said.

Hewitt said people should take valuable items out of their car, consider investing in a remote starter, have an extra set of keys in order to lock your car and also to partially close your garage door if your car is inside.

Hewitt said there are people who look for unattended cars in neighborhoods. He said it is getting harder for thieves to steal cars.

“They are looking for any edge they can have over you,” Hewitt said.

Hewitt said people need to keep their eyes peeled. He said a crime like this one happens fast.

“Somebody  in the right place at the right time for them are right place, wrong time for you, if it’s your car that’s being stolen. So, is there a 100 percent full proof method for this? Of course not, but you can take some precautions,” Hewitt said.

The cases under investigation are scattered throughout Indianapolis.

Downey said she will take precautions and wants other people to do the same thing.

“It can happen. It will happen. You just gotta take precautions,” Downey said.

Hewitt said more than 50 percent of cars stolen nationwide are because the key was left in the ignition.


  • Duane

    People always seem to think "Its gonna happen to the other guy, not me." They seem to forget….to everyone else in the world "YOU" ARE the other guy.

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