Warm-up car thefts increase in St. Charles


Warm-up car thefts have increased throughout the St. Charles area recently, but Lt. Thomas Wilkison said it is a common occurrence during winter months. Photo by Ashley Higginbotham.


The city of St. Charles has had 10 car thefts in the past three months, with the most recent ones occurring near Fifth Street and Interstate 70, Public Information Officer Lt. Thomas Wilkison said.

Since Oct. 27, 10 “warm-up” car thefts have been reported in the St. Charles area.

“People are warming up their cars early in the morning and someone gets in and drives off,” Wilkison said.

As temperatures drop, the chances of a frozen windshield skyrocket. According to sciencedirect.com, a survey asked 1,300 Americans if they warm their cars up in the winter, and “nearly half” reported yes, they do warm their car up. An unattended, unlocked vehicle can be viewed as bait to criminals in the vicinity.

“It’s just a crime of opportunity,” Wilkison said.

Wilkison said this is not just an issue for St. Charles.

“Anytime it gets cold in any jurisdiction, people go out to warm their cars whether they live in a house or an apartment complex,” Wilkison said.

As for ways to prevent this kind of theft, Wilkison said being patient and sitting in the vehicle while it warms up is better than being without a vehicle.