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Decrease in Temperatures Causes Increase in Des Moines Car Thefts

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  It's a crime that is leaving victims in Des Moines like Korey Wilson in disbelief.  "A lot of confusion. I'm a pretty normal, average person, I didn't think this would happen. I thought maybe it was a joke."

Car owners attempting to warm up their vehicles leave them unattended and unlocked during sub-zero temperatures, only to find their driveway empty when they return.

Korey said, "I just warmed it up, had a quick supper, and went to go to the store and within 20-30 minutes it was gone."

Korey isn't alone. Of the 10 vehicles reported stolen in Des Moines so far in 2018, seven were left running unattended, unlocked, and with keys in the ignition.

Sergeant Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department said, "If you don't have a remote start option with anti-theft feature, you are better off putting on an extra layer and toughing it out."

Now, Korey and at least six others are left toughing it out without transportation.  He said, "It is pretty life-altering to not know if it will ever come back."

While police work on recovering the stolen vehicles, they say the odds of them coming back in one piece are not likely.

"There's no guarantee these people are going to treat your car the way you want it treated. They will run from us. They'll crash your car and some just trash them for sport," said Parizek.

David Tindrell was unaware of the increase in car thefts with the engine running.

"I'm shocked, very shocked actually," he said.  Even though David runs his vehicle unattended and locked, the recent crime wave has put him on high alert. "I'm going to probably look out the window more frequently and park the vehicle very close to the back door or something."

Thieves may have spoiled the beginning of Korey's new year, but there's still room in his heart for one more resolution.

"It's unfortunate that it happened at the start of the new year, but I've taken time to reflect on the situation and personally I'll be praying for them in the new year."