Crime Alert: Thieves taking advantage of cars left unattended while warming up

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Thieves are taking advantage of the frigid temperatures.

On Friday, Jan. 12 a man told police he left his fiance's car running to warm up outside a home on South Cox, and as soon as he walked away, two men walked up.

Cooper Young's Neighborhood Watch cameras caught the duo right before police said they hopped into the idling car and took off.

"I'm sure a thief would take advantage of a situation like that," said Randle Witherington, who lives in Cooper Young. "I try and dress warmly like right now, and go and heat up the car, but would never leave it running."

Law enforcement repeatedly told us parked cars left idling while warming up is becoming more frequent with the bitter chill across the Mid-South, and that's not a good thing.

"We realize temperatures are falling, and it's tempting to leave your car running or warming up before you drive. Please do not leave your car unattended at any time," said Lieutenant Colonel Caroline Mason during a P.S.A. Memphis Police released in December.

It's a message officers have preached time and time again.

They said cars left running and unattended fuel crime and take resources off the street.

Not to mention, you can get a citation. The fines start at $62.

We asked the Memphis Police Department how many citations they've given out since November, but were told it hasn't been determined if that information is available.

It's also unclear if the couple in Cooper Young got a citation.

All the while, other law enforcement agencies are sending out similar warnings.

People like Angela Barton said they're listening.

"A long, long time ago I was carjacked, and I was in the car. So I don't leave it unattended now," she said.

Authorities say, with the cold not going away any time soon, be aware and don't leave your car running and unattended. Sit in your car while it warms up.

If you can help MPD solve the crime in Cooper Young, call Crime Stoppers at 901-528-CASH.