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Don’t be a puffer – you may get your car stolen

Posted in Crime Prevention December 3rd, 2008 @ 2:49 pm

Now that we are in the winter months, most people don’t think twice about running their cars unattended in cold weather. Who wants to get into a cold car! However, for a few minutes of convenience may cost you tons of grief.

In Minneapolis, it isn’t against the law to warm up your car in your driveway at home, but it is against the law if your vehicle is on a public road. Known as “puffers,” your car can be an easy target for thieves.

However, in Colorado this is illegal anywhere you live and carries a fine of up to $105 if the police catch you. And believe me, police throughout the Colorado Front Range do patrol neighborhoods, convenience stores, coffee shops, apartment complexes and day care centers looking for puffers, especially in high theft hot spots.

For years the Minneapolis Police Department has been asking for the “puffer” law to be broader. Thieves tempted by a running engine don’t care if it is on private or public roads. Even if you lock your car while running the engine is only a modest deterrent. The fact that the auto was running makes it more difficult for prosecutors to deal with suspected thieves who have keys in their hands. St. Paul and other cities have ordinances similar to the one in Minneapolis.

So if you can’t stand a cold car, buy a remote starter for your car. This helps to prevent the car from being driven away. Let common sense dictate what you and don’t be a “puffer” – your car may get stolen.

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