Posted, January 6, 2014 --- 6:16p.m.
With the incredibly cold temperatures the last few days, many people are giving their cars time to warm up before hitting the road, but is it worth the risk?
It's probably something many of you have done hundreds of times before, let your car warm up when it's brutally cold outside. However, just last night an employee at the east side Red Lobster did the same thing, only to watch someone jump in and drive off.
Madison Police Department's Joel DeSpain says it's nothing new.
"We see it every winter it happens many times."
But each year when mother nature turns icy staying warm can jump to the top of anyone's list.
"She was kind of keeping an eye on it from inside the restaurant she's gone back into the restaurant to stay warm while the Jeep was warming up and suddenly she sees the Jeep leaving the parking lot-someone had stolen it."
It's not just highly populated areas like the East Town Red Lobster where this woman was targeted. DeSpain says it can happen anywhere.
"Where people have had their vehicles stolen from their driveways or from within their garages."
In Madison, it's actually illegal to leave your car on a public street with the keys in the ignition. Although, DeSpain says it's rarely enforced. He says if your car is running but the doors are locked, it'll likely make the thieves think twice about making you their next target.
"One good thing with my car is that it runs by a fob so if the fob leaves the car it cant be driven."
Stephanie Beckman says technology has kept her headaches away with fobs and automatic starters. She says without that backup, she would probably just tough out a cold ride to work.
"In the morning you're multi tasking there are 50 things to do before you walk out the door so you can't just stand there and watch the car, you might as well drive it if that's the case."
DeSpain says a lot of times when cars are stolen while warming up, it's a crime of opportuniy. He says it could just be a cold person looking to get somewhere they need to go. He says most of times the cars are recovered.