Sheriff's Office: Auto thieves welcome colder weather

GREENVILLE, S.C. – With colder weather upon us and winter on the way, many people have begun to make that dreaded walk to their frost covered cars to warm them before leaving in the morning.

But you may want to think twice before starting your vehicle and going back inside, because this is just what an auto thief is hoping for — an easy target, according to the Greenville County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators said that every year people become victims of "crime of opportunity" auto theft during the colder months by simply starting their vehicle to allow it to warm and going back inside to finish preparing for the day.

Sheriff Steve Loftis offered the following tips to help you from becoming a victim:

• Always have a clear view of your vehicle if leaving it unattended;

• Use exterior lighting to help illuminate your property;

• Use remote/keyless start if your vehicle is equipped with this option;

• Park your vehicle inside a garage if possible to prevent frost or ice.

• Do not start or allow your vehicle to run in an enclosed area as this will cause poisonous/deadly gases to become trapped inside the area which can enter your home;

• Cover the exterior front and rear windows of your vehicle at night to prevent frost and ice.