Thieves looking for unattended, running vehicles during the winter months

DECATUR, Ala. -  Many of us are guilty of leaving the car running to warm up during a cold, winter morning.

Well, it turns out, a lot of people do that and that's why the Decatur Police Department is taking action.

"We've seen an increase in vehicle thefts in past years when the vehicles are left unattended as they are warming up," said Detective Timothy Jackson.

The department is recommending two options for drivers.

"Physically stay with the vehicle as its warming up or second option, would be to have someone in the family to have eyes on the vehicle as its warming up," said Jackson.

Even if you think you're safe with an electronic start device -- think again.

"We've talked to vehicle manufacturers and a lot of them assure us that the vehicles even if they don't have the remote in the vehicle, they can be taken some distance away from where they originally were," said Jackson.

Detective Jackson says most of the time -- unlocked, running vehicles are a target of opportunity for thieves.