"It's tough times and desperate people take desperate measures," comments Deborah Murrar.
Murrar says she had to learn that the hard way after her car was stolen a few years ago and she is not alone. Lexington Police say, so far in 2012, 34 car thefts have been reported and those numbers tend to increase in the winter months. In nearly half of those car thefts, police say the driver left the key in the ignition or the key was used to gain access. And police are trying to prevent more drivers from falling victim.
"It's very quick and easy for a criminal walking by, who may be out and about in the cold weather, to see a warm automobile sitting there running and, in less than 30 seconds, they can be in the car, out of the driveway and gone," explains Jeremiah Davis, an auto theft detective with the Lexington Police Department.
Police want to remind you that it's against the law to leave your car running unattended, even if it's in your own driveway.
"Starting your vehicle in your driveway and going back inside your house to grab that warm cup of coffee or stand in there and let the vehicle warm up, that's unattended," says Det. Davis.
And Murrar hopes that her misfortune will make others take precautions so this doesn't happen to them.
"Now that I'm older and I've had some worldly experience, you learn these things. Just think very practical, lock your car, be aware of your surroundings, try to park close to the store so you can see your car, park near a light," comments Murrar.
Police also suggest removing all spare keys from your cars and while you're at work or in other public places, make sure to secure your keys so they aren't stolen.