Thieves target cars with keys left inside

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Wichita police are warning drivers against the habit of leaving keys in the ignition and doors left unlocked.

"Common for folks to want to leave their keys in the car to get them warmed, so they can come out and get going to work or wherever they're going in a warmed up vehicle. But it makes them opportune targets to be stolen," said Lt. Chris McAuliffe.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been 1,815 auto theft reports. Of those, 174 were reports of cars with keys left inside.

"I did not think that was ever going to happen. It's a new car. Thank God it had a tracker on it. That's how they were able to locate the car," said Alillyana, whose car was stolen last Tuesday morning.

Alillyana was warming her car when she noticed a stranger in her neighborhood.

"I didn't think anything of it. She had a school backpack on, so I thought she was a kid. Next thing you know, I hear a car door shut. I look out my window and my car is getting backed out and it's down the street," she said.

Wichita police recover about 74 percent of stolen cars. 

Alillyana's car was located within an hour of calling police. Her car had some minor damage and most her valuables inside.

"I'm scared. I definitely pull my car up every morning now, since it happened right in front of my house. I will either have me or my step dad stand right there and watch it," said Alillyana.

Police estimate that more people leave their keys in the car to either warm or cool it. They advise against this practice.

Auto Thefts in Wichita

Auto Thefts Keys Left In Car
2015 1,916 204
2016 2,106 187
2017 1,815 174

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