A rash of car thefts in Hillsboro has local police warning residents that leaving their car unlocked and running with the keys in the ignition is not only illegal, but essentially an invitation for car thieves to take what isn’t theirs.
Hillsboro Police Chief Darrin Goudy told The Times-Gazette that in the last 10 days, there have been four or five vehicles stolen in the city limits, and a handful were taken because they were left idling, unlocked, with the keys inside.
Goudy said vehicles left in that condition are ripe for the taking.
“Not only is that unwise and makes your car susceptible to being stolen, it’s also illegal,” Goudy said.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Ohio law says it’s illegal to leave a vehicle running unattended with the key in the ignition, although the law was relaxed last year through a bill that allows people to leave vehicles idling if they are parked on residential property or if the doors are locked, making remote start options feasible.
The Hillsboro Police Department took to Facebook this week to warn locals about warming up their cars.
“We have had several vehicles stolen within the past week,” says one post, “several of which were taken while they were being ‘warmed up.’ We understand it is cold and no one wants to get into a cold vehicle but please do not leave your vehicle unattended while it is warming up.”
Goudy said he hopes residents will take his department’s advice if only for their vehicles’ sake, because when thieves take a car, they often drive it like they stole it.
“Unfortunately, if your car gets taken by an unknown subject, it’s usually in a lot worse condition when we finally get it back,” he said. “Bottom line, don’t leave your car unattended while it’s running.”
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570.