CINCINNATI -- If you leave your car running while you pop into a store or pick your child up from daycare, you're not just making things easier for yourself. You're also turning your car into a much more convenient target for thieves.
"It's an easy theft," said Cincinnati Police Detective Michael Winstead. "They don't have to break a window, they don't have to hotwire it, they don't have to do anything. It's already running and ready."
According to Detective Winstead, the majority of these thefts happen in neighborhoods where a person might leave their car running to warm it up or cool it off in the morning, but many are also concentrated around gas stations. Police records indicate that the United Dairy Farmers in Evanston saw three in the first three months of 2017; a sister location in Pleasant Ridge had been the site of four.
"These perpetrators are hanging outside the businesses, lurking around, and they are stealing the cars because it's an opportunity -- an easy opportunity," said Michael Blankenship, who said he learned his lesson after his car was nabbed while idling multiple times.
It's a crime that's as easy to stop as it is to commit, Detective Winstead said. All a driver needs to do is turn their car off and lock it when they step out of the vehicle.
"If your car's already running, it's ready," he said. "It's in gear and gone."