Leaving your car unattended could cost you

Woman's unattended car stolen while warming up engine

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - When temperatures fall, it's tempting to leave your car running or warm it up before you drive.

However, leaving an unattended car running is illegal and can lead to more crime.

One woman told police that all she wanted to do was let her car warm up, because when she walked outside Friday morning the temperature felt like 20 degrees.

She cranked up her car and left it running in front of her house around 6:30 a.m. A few minutes later, the victim came back to where her car was sitting, and it was gone.

"It's unusual. I hadn't heard nobody's car getting taken over here, not in this neighborhood," said neighbor Terry Russell.

Russell was shocked to hear that someone stole his neighbor's car while it was warming up.

"Just watch out when warming them up, you know," suggested Russell. "Like I say, you've got to keep an eye on them."

Investigators called the incident a crime of opportunity. This type of theft often happens when temperatures drop.

Russell admits he even lets his car warm up and goes back inside from time to time.

"Got to warm them up before you go," said Russell.

However, police say drivers who leave running cars unattended are at risk for fines, and state law says if a thief takes your unattended car and happens to crash it, you could be accountable for the damage.

Meanwhile, Russell says he doesn't want to be the next victim.

Copyright 2015 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.