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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane police see increase in car thefts as people leave keys inside to warm up

UPDATED: Fri., Nov. 13, 2020

Spokane Police saw an increase in vehicle thefts during the last week, and people leaving their keys in their cars was a contributing factor, according to a Spokane Police Department news release.

Of 31 stolen vehicles from Nov. 1 through Nov. 7, 11 had keys inside or the car was left running, the release said.

The department and the Spokane Regional Auto Theft Task Force are encouraging the public not to leave cars unattended as they warm up.

“It’s not only unwise, it’s illegal on streets and other public spaces,” SPD spokesperson Julie Humphreys wrote in the release.

Washington state law prohibits a driver or person in charge of a vehicle from leaving it unattended before first stopping the engine.

In 2017, the most stolen cars in Washington state included late 1990s models of the Honda Accord, Civic, and CR-V; Ford Pickup; Subaru Legacy; Toyota Corolla and the 1991 Toyota Camry, the release said.

The release also pointed to Spokane County’s ranking among other American metro areas for car thefts per capita based on the 2019 National Insurance Crime Bureau. Spokane County ranked 57th in auto thefts per 100,000 residents, the release said.

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