Crime & Courts

Wichita police see increase in thefts of idling cars

A rash of thefts this week involving vehicles left idling prompted police to issue a fresh caution:

Don’t do that.

Seven vehicles were stolen Tuesday after their owners started them up and then went back inside to finish getting ready for work, records show. They were in all parts of town and featured a array of vehicles.

“We really ask that people not do that,” Wichita police Lt. James Espinoza said. “This is a crime of opportunity.”

Leave your vehicle running unattended, he said, and “individuals will take advantage of that.”

Vehicles have been stolen in residential areas and from the front of stores when motorists have dashed in for what they figured was a quick stop. Twelve vehicles were stolen last week while left idling unattended, Espinoza said.

“It creates a lot of problems for a lot of people,” he said.

Police in the past have recommended the use of remote starters so vehicles can warm up while remaining locked. Espinoza said motorists can also warm up their vehicles while clearing windows and mirrors of ice and snow.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.