Cold weather leads to car thefts

If colder temperatures have you heating up your car in the morning before you head out to work, think again. One Phenix City woman found out a cold car is better than no car at all.

This time last year nearly half of the cars stolen in Columbus had the keys inside with the engine running. With temperatures dropping, more drivers may fall victim to this crime.

Drivers like Jamie Tillman says, "I came out yesterday morning to heat up my vehicle because it's been very cold and I was opening my front door to go get in my vehicle and I heard screeching tires and I looked out the door and saw my vehicle being driven away."

Not only did the car thief get away with Tillman's brand new SUV, but her purse and all her keys were inside the car too. But she says she was more fortunate than most, "Luckily I was able to get my car back by the evening. Kudos to the Phenix City Police Department."

It may seem like this is an unavoidable theft, but there are a few ways you can warm up your car and keep in your driveway.

"Get a remote start, that's the biggest tip I can give. If you're buying a new vehicle pay the extra money and get one. Another thing, if you have a garage, open the garage door just a little so the exhaust can get out and just warm up your car in the garage. The stress of me being cold for five minutes while it warms up... Just sit in your vehicle," Tillman told News Leader 9.

She says it's a simple tip that many people ignore, but she won't be making that mistake again, "Watch your vehicle as it is being started. I'll just be cold; I'm not going to let this happen anymore."

Jamie Tillman was lucky to get her car back, but she was also smart because she called 9-1-1 immediately and then notified her insurance company and all her credit card companies.

The only sure fire way to prevent your car from being stolen is to limit the options for thieves.

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