Warm Up Your Car in the Morning? Car Thieves Target 'Steamers'

Here are some tips on how to avoid becoming a cold-weather auto theft victim.

A prewarmed car is nice, but consider the risk.

A few minutes of discomfort driving a frozen car on a cold winter morning is a lot less painful that a stolen car.

The Renton Police Department and King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office say leaving an idling car in the driveway to "warm up" could lead to property loss, collisions, police pursuits and even death. 

The fact that a car is right in front of a house, or even in your driveway, is no real deterrent to a thief,” Det. Robert Onishi said. “An idling car left unattended is an open invitation to an opportunistic thief, who can see the exhaust from blocks down the road.”

Thieves even have a nickname for early morning idling cars, which they call “steamers.”

A few years ago, a Renton man interrupted such a theft, but was run over and dragged by his own car as the thief drove it away. The victim was found dead at the scene; his killer is still in prison, serving time for his murder.

What do you do to stay warm during your morning commute?


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