INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The cold weather this week has sparked a safety warning from IMPD to drivers everywhere.
Friday morning, two cars on Indy’s west and northwest sides were stolen while the owners left them warming up.
It's a crime police say is completely preventable.
Police say anytime you leave your car running unattended, you’re making yourself an easy target for thieves.
With frigid fall temperatures kicking off the morning commute, an Indianapolis teen went outside to his families driveway Friday morning and began to warm up his parents van.
"I came outside to turn it on and warm it up because I was getting ready to go to school and I went back inside," said Gian Marcos.
Marcos says he went inside to put on his backpack and in just a matter of minutes he heard the van door open and watched a thief drive away.
"Yeah it’s kind of frustrating," said Marcos. "When I was sitting down I saw the light of the car and turned around and saw the car pulling back and that’s when he drove away."
Less than an hour later, police were also called to a west side apartment complex after another person reported someone stole their car while it was warming up.
Those two thefts are among the first cases of the season, but they won’t be the last. Police reports show every year thieves steal hundreds of cars while they’re running unattended.
"It’s important that we remind everybody, it’s that time of year and it’s cold out, but if you warm up your car, do it safely," said IMPD officer Genae Cook.
That’s why IMPD took to Twitter to warn everyone to never leave cars running when you’re not behind the wheel. It's a lesson the Marcos family agrees with after learning a lesson the hard way.
"It’s very important if you go to warm up your car, stay with your car and lock your car," said Cook.
"I guess if you’re going to heat up your car, stay inside or keep a close eye on your car," agreed Marcos.
In addition to increasing your odds of having your car stolen, experts say warming up most newer cars in the winter can actually be bad for your engine.
— IMPD (@IMPDnews) November 8, 2019