Norman Police Investigating Increase Of Car Thefts

Wednesday, January 6th 2016, 7:25 pm
By: News 9

Warming up your car on cold morning could leave you with no car at all. Norman Police have seen a spike in these thefts since the first of December.

Since December, more than a dozen cars have gone missing while owners left them unlocked and running to warm up. Police say warming up a vehicle with keys in the ignition makes drivers easy targets, since car thefts are usually a crime of opportunity.

“We've seen a huge spike especially in the last two weeks of December coming into the New Year,” said Norman Police Spokeswoman Sarah Jensen.

So far, 13 vehicles have been swiped from people's homes with keys in the ignition.

Norman's latest victim was Maggie Johnson.

“I looked around for it and of course it was gone,” said Johnson.

Seconds after she left her car unlocked and warming up on her driveway, it was gone.

“I even thought as I was going out the door, in a lot of other neighborhoods that would just not be safe to leave a car on. And then my car was gone and so lesson learned,” said Johnson.

It may be a bit of a chilly inconvenience in the morning but instead of preheating your car, police say it's really best to warm up with your car. And if you need some extra warmth in the car add on another jacket or put more blankets in the car.

Johnson’s car was missing for three days before an officer spotted it Tuesday morning while driving north on I-35.

“An officer noticed a paper tag that had been put on the vehicle that was somewhat suspicious,” said Jensen.

The officer flipped on his lights and sirens to pull over the driver.

But police said Tommy Stevens kept driving, leading the officer on a short pursuit into Moore.

Stevens lost control and crashed the car. He then, took off on foot before he was arrested.

Norman Police have recovered more than half of the vehicles stolen by "warm-up thieves".

“I won’t do it again. You can be certain of that,” Johnson said.