5 vehicles warming up were stolen over the weekend in Sioux Falls

Leaving your car running to keep it warm creates an easy target for thieves, police warn. As temperatures dropped below zero, more people are leaving their keys in the ignition.

Closeup of car tires in winter on the road
Running, unlocked cars are opportunities for criminals, Sioux Falls police say.

It’s a busy time of year for car thieves.

The bitter cold temperatures mean people are more likely to leave their car running while they pop into the grocery store or take the kids to school.

That presents easy pickings for criminals looking for a quick score.

Five vehicles were stolen over the weekend, Sioux Falls police said Monday, Dec. 19.

In each case the car was unlocked, running with the keys in it.


“I know it’s cold. I know it’s tough,” said Lt. Andrew Siebenborn. “But if you are going to choose to have your vehicle running, you need to be with your vehicle. Otherwise, you significantly increase the chance of your vehicle getting stolen and we don’t want that to happen.”

Most of the time it’s a crime of opportunity, where a thief just happens upon a running car and jumps in, Siebenborn said. But there are people watching for motorists to make a mistake, he said.

It only takes one time.

“You get away with it a lot of the time, until you don’t get away with it,” he said. “Help yourself out.”

Patrick Lalley is the engagement editor and reporter for Sioux Falls Live. Reach him at
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