By Kristen Johanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –– The Philadelphia Police Department has a warning for drivers as car thefts in and around the city are on the rise.

If you are heating up your car, after the recent snow fall, or running in to grab a coffee, Philadelphia police spokesman Captain Sekou Kinebrew says, that’s the perfect time for a thief to nab your wheels.

“Approximately 33 percent, or a third, of the stolen autos involved incidents where the key was left in the ignition,” he explains to KYW Newsradio.

The department says they’ve seen a spike in thefts, and Kinebrew explains a majority of the swiped cars end up undamaged, and dumped somewhere else.

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“A lot of these are that people are leaving their keys in the ignition, the guy jumps in it, and then just joy rides in it and then dumps it somewhere else,” he said.

Kinebrew says the other reason thieves nab cars is to use it in a crime.

“Cause now you are in someone else’s car and you commit a robbery or burglary or something like that,” he said. “The car that would be attached to the crime is not [the criminal], it’s the person that owns the car.”

He says the department is looking at crime rings and chop shops, but urge people to lock their doors and never leave keys in the ignition.

“We definitely want to raise the awareness so that people can keep their cars safe and the content of their cars,” he added.

  1. I wouldn’t even call this auto theft, I would call it “teaching dumb people a lesson.” If you leave your car running with the keys in the ignition, what do you think will happen?

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