Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Syracuse Police are seeing a spike in car thefts in the area of 500 Oakwood Avenue where drivers have left their cars idling. Eight cars have been stolen in recent weeks after drivers left their keys in the car, often to run into a convenience store, even just for a few minutes.
Police are “On the Lookout” for the thieves and they’re now ready to launch a citywide crackdown on people who leave their cars running in parking lots and streets outside of convenience stores.
Cars have been stolen during all hours of the day. Some of the cars have been found in parking lots of apartment buildings, a few miles away from where they were stolen.
So what’s driving the thefts? Syracuse’s crime trackers have some theories.
“Someone has caught on to the fact that people leave their cars running in this area,” said crime analyst, Sarah Pierce. “It looks like they’ve abandoned the vehicles at different apartment complexes. It's possible they may be scrapping the vehicles, eventually.
Now, car owners caught leaving their car running could end up paying the price.
“First of all, it's illegal. People can expect that if they’re leaving their cars unattended outside any convenience store anywhere, we’re going to be ticketing people for that,” said Syracuse Police Sergeant Tom Connellan. "Plus, it's dangerous. A child could get in the car and have a terrible accident. Anything could happen.”
Police say the fine for leaving your car running can be more than $100.