Although it is tempting on these cold days to warm up your car by leaving it running while you are inside, doing so leaves you at risk for car theft. To date in 2018, three cars in Eden Prairie have been stolen while running with the keys inside.
The first incident occurred outside an Eden Prairie business when an employee left his car running, went inside for a few minutes and returned to find the car missing. The car was eventually found at a car dealer in Crystal where the thief used it as collateral to test drive another car. The test-drive car was not returned and reported stolen by the dealer. After it was processed for evidence, the victim was able to retrieve his car. Three days later the test-drive car was involved in a pursuit in Champlin, and the driver was arrested for theft of a motor vehicle and narcotics. Theft charges are pending for the car stolen in Eden Prairie.
The second case happened in the Eden Prairie Center parking lot when a driver started his car and went into a friend’s car nearby to stay warm. They watched as a man entered the idling vehicle and drove off. The victim and his friend called 911 and followed the vehicle, letting Dispatch know their route. The suspect crashed the vehicle into a snowbank and fled on foot. The victim showed arriving officers where the suspect was running and officers arrested him. The man was charged with felony theft of a motor vehicle, 4th degree DWI, careless driving and giving a false name to police.
The most recent theft occurred in early February at an apartment complex parking lot. A resident started his car and briefly went inside. When he returned, the car was missing and suspicious footprints were found in the snow next to the driver’s door. To date the car has not been recovered.