Crime on the rise as temperatures drop; Police warn about ‘puffing’ thefts

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OKLAHOMA CITY  - As winter temperatures continue to hit the state, police are warning residents about a crime that is on the rise.

Authorities say thieves are taking advantage of the winter weather right now, targeting motorists who leave their cars running to warm up.

On Friday morning, a couple of drivers learned that lesson the hard way.

Police tell us they responded to at least three running car thefts near N.W. 10th St. and Council Rd. on Friday morning.

These thefts are the result of drivers leaving the driver's door unlocked and the keys in the ignition.

There's a name thieves use for this crime; it's called puffing.

They’ll drive up and down streets, looking for exhaust coming from the muffler of a car.

One minute Butch Chrisley's car was there, the next it was gone.

His wife left their car running and unattended.

“They were real quiet about it,” he said. “They didn't slam the door. I didn't even hear it take off.”

About a mile away, Juan Vargas' car is also missing.

“Man, I don't know [who did it],” he said. “It's been happening lately.”

Officers say you should never walk away from your car with the key still in the ignition.

Butch says the New Year was supposed to be a fresh start for his family.

“We were robbed four times and then the tornado in El Reno wiped us out,” Butch said. “We haven't given up yet. We're still fighting.”

If you have any information on these thefts, call police.

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