By Kirsten Mitchell

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – St. Paul police are warning drivers against warming up their cars unattended.

When the temperatures go down, St. Paul police say auto thefts go up. Since Sunday, police say 11 vehicles were stolen. Seven were left running unattended, including one, with a dog named Duke inside.

“This was a DoorDash employee who had probably been working all night and she ran inside just for a minute or two to change clothes and it was four in the morning, and when she came out her car and her dog were gone like that,” St. Paul Police public information officer Steve Linders said.

Late Tuesday afternoon, police say Duke was found and reunited with his owner. They were still looking for the vehicle.

Last week, a 4-month-old puppy named Kua was taken in a vehicle in the Macalester-Groveland neighborhood. Police said they found the car, but Kua is still missing.

“We see it happening in the early morning, we see it happening in the afternoon and especially at night so there is no safe time for you to start your car and go back inside,” Linders said.

St. Paul resident Sara Gross Methner said she warms her car up a little, but is now more cautious.

“It’s nerve wracking for sure because my dog is a member of my family and we love her so having a dog get lost or not knowing where it is, it’s scary,” Gross Methner said.

“A few cold minutes is better than a day or a week or month or even longer without your vehicle,” Linders said.

If you have information about Kua’s whereabouts, call the St. Paul Police Department at 651-291-1111.

Kirsten Mitchell