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Memphis police warn of the danger of leaving unattended vehicles running

Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 9:51 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis police are pleading with Memphians to stop leaving vehicles unattended and running.

Police say last year, hundreds of vehicles were reported stolen with the keys left inside of them.

This year, one incident even had police racing against the clock to rescue children who had been left inside a running car. In 2021, Memphis police say 653 vehicles were stolen with the keys left inside of them.

They put out a message Monday, hoping to see a decrease in that number this year.

“We realize that temperatures are falling and it’s tempting to leave your car running or warming up before you drive, but please do not leave your vehicle running or unattended at any time,” said Memphis Police Lt. Col. Caroline Mason.

Instead, make sure you turn your car off. Take your belongings and keys with you. It could help you avoid becoming the victim of a crime.

On Dec. 31, Memphis police responded to a car theft on Gascony where a woman told police a man took her car with her 3-year-old and 6-week-old infant inside.

“Please, please stop leaving children in cars unattended. Stop leaving these cars running,” said Memphis Police Assistant Chief Don Crowe.

Officers were able to find the vehicle and the children were safe.

Less than two weeks later, a 12-year-old and 2-year-old were abducted while sitting inside a running car.

Police say their mother left her car running while she was inside a home.

“These are loving, caring parents that are trying to do what’s best for their children, but when these cars are left running, these bad guys come in and take off,” said Crowe.

Leaving your car running unattended can also earn you a ticket from Memphis police.

Police say anyone caught leaving their vehicle running and unattended could be charged with unattended motor vehicles. According to the Memphis city court clerk’s website, the fine is about $63.

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