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Police Warn Of Car Thefts While Warming Your Vehicle

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Every winter, police send out a warning: Don’t leave your car running with the keys inside.

Many cities have ordinances against running a car with the keys in the ignition and no one inside the vehicle.

In Minneapolis, it could cost you a $34 ticket. In St. Paul, an officer can take your keys and bring them back to the police station.

That’s part of the reason why Dealer Automotive in Hopkins is so busy this time of year installing remote starter systems. Customer Dale Stera stopped into to pick up his wife’s new remote Monday.

“Oh man, we’d run out and start the car and run back in and wait,” Stera said.

A remote starter is legal because you can start a car without having keys in the ignition. Security measures also prevent the car from moving without the keys.

Dealer Automotive owner Steve Rush says, properly installed, remote starters won’t void any car warranties.

“It’s a common misconception, being in the business, we try to calm them a little bit,” said Rush.

He does, though, recommend it be installed by a professional.

With a remote, people have to be careful not to break the Minneapolis idling law that requires cars not idle for more than three minutes.

If someone doesn’t have a remote, police say it’s still not safe to run the locked car with keys inside.

“Often times the vehicle is locked,” said Minneapolis Police Sgt. William Palmer. “That really isn’t a deterrent at all. Locking your door means they’re just going to break the window to get in.”

Remote starters begin at about $300. The higher end models – like those you can start from your phone – can be closer to $700.

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