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Yakima Police: Cars left to warm up are stolen on a daily basis

Yakima Police: Cars left to warm up are stolen on a daily basis.

YAKIMA, Wash.- 20 seconds: About the same amount of time it would take for you to go back inside to grab a jacket.

That's how long Octavio Gomez said it took for his car to get stolen Thursday morning.

“When I came out the car was not there and I heard a car zooming down the street, so is immediately called police,” he said.

Police say the car ended up wrecked at the Juvenile Justice Center after Gomez left his car unattended as it warmed up.

Leaving your car unattended is not only dangerous but it's also illegal. Yakima Police Department said this happens every day to people, so not only will you end up with a ticket, but you'll end up without a car.

YPD detective Jake Lancaster said with so many car thefts that happen in winter, ticketing people is the only way to get them to stop doing it.

“There are people actively looking to steal vehicles this time of year. It's easy. It's a crime of opportunity,” he said.

In Gomez’s case, police said the man who stole the car did this all the time to steal change and other items that may be inside.

“He was in a stolen car at the time,” Lancaster said. “He saw a guy walk out to his car, start it, walk back in his house. He dropped the car he was in and stole another car right then.”

Lancaster said the easiest way to stop your car from getting stolen is putting in a push-to-start ignition or just wear extra layers when you go outside.

And if something does happen you can call your local police department to let them know.

Being out in the cold may be uncomfortable, but it beats trying to get to work without a car.

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