Rockford Police give warnings to avoid becoming a target for thieves

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – On cold mornings, it’s tempting to warm up the car before work, but police warn if you leave them unattended, even if it’s parked in the driveway, there’s a chance it could be stolen.

“We encourage people, don’t leave your cars running, especially in weather like this because of the fact that someone will unexpectedly come by and all of a sudden, you come back out to go to work or go shopping and your car is gone,” says Lt. Joel Givens with the Rockford Police Department.

It’s a warning we hear a lot this time of year. Police say usually car thefts in cold weather are crimes of opportunity. If our keys are in our car and it’s unlocked, it’s easy to steal. Officers say if you have a remote starter, it’s okay to warm your car, but if you don’t, they say you’re taking a risk.

Rockford Police are also warning shoppers to be careful about where we put our purchases, saying what we leave in our cars could make us the target for thieves. Police say to hide purses, wallets, and bags of gifts as leaving them on a car seat gives thieves an opportunity to break into our cars and take them. Authorities recommend putting packages directly in the trunk so no one can see what we have.

"Mainly I want to make sure people take out the items they work all year for to purchase. Make sure they put them in the trunk or inside the house," says Lt. Givens.

Lieutenant Givens says they aren't seeing cases of purses or presents being stolen, but they say the warning is a precaution so our holidays aren't ruined by a Grinch.