A Great Big City

"Puffer Cars" Leave The Door Open For Thieves

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IMG_9975 via yonolatengo on Flickr

Drivers in NYC need to be aware of the trend of Colorado drivers having idling vehicles stolen.

The practice of starting a car to warm up the engine and the interior has given new incentive for car-loving criminals to wake up early on cold mornings. It's been happening for years in Colorado, but drivers can't seem to take the hint: Leaving your car idling with the keys in the ignition is inviting crooks to jump in and drive away. This morning, low temperatures led drivers in Aurora, Colorado to start their cars, and three people walked out the door to find their vehicles stolen.

Stories from near Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania show that the trend is catching on with East Coast thieves.

Called "puffer cars" after the Colorado term for leaving your car running, the practice also does nothing to benefit your car. Leaving a car running at idle for 10 seconds is worse than restarting the car's engine, and your car will warm up much faster by driving around in the morning, rather than letting it sit at idle and fill with exhaust fumes.

As any eagle-eyed city-dweller is aware, NYC has laws prohibiting idling vehicles, with street signs promising a fine up to $2,000. Those laws are typically aimed at commercial vehicles, but if NYC criminals catch on to the "puffer car" trend, you may be waking up to an empty parking space where your car used to be!

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