Some people start their cars in the morning and return to their homes momentarily because nothing is worse than getting into a cold car on a cold winter's morning. Nothing is worse, that is, until the car is stolen.
This winter, more than a half-dozen people have gone inside their homes after starting their cars only to return to find their cars had been stolen. The Charles County Sheriff's Office has begun stepping up efforts to prevent this crime by educating the public about the law against leaving running cars unattended.
During an hour-long operation the morning of Feb. 2 in a concentrated area of Waldorf, Tactical Response Squad officers issued warnings to 19 motorists who went inside after starting their cars. The Sheriff's Office plans to continue its efforts to warn motorists about the consequences of breaking this law and although violators during the Feb. 2 operation received warnings, future violators could face a citation that carries a $60 fine.
"When officers see a running car that is unattended, they will watch it to make sure no one from the outside gets in. If that happens, they'll stop the car and arrest the person who stole it. If that doesn't happen, when the driver exits the residence, that person will receive a warning or citation," said Charles County Sheriff Frederick E. Davis. "We have to tackle this problem from all angles, otherwise these preventable thefts will continue to happen."
Sheriff's Office cadets also plan to assist in efforts. They will place notices on vehicles they find running unattended to advise motorists it is against the law and presents an easy opportunity for a thief to take the car.
In December, three cars were stolen in Waldorf and a fourth was stolen in Indian Head after thieves found them unattended with the keys in the ignition. On Jan. 31, three more cars were stolen in Waldorf in the same situation.
Anyone who has information about the stolen vehicles can call the Sheriff's Office at 301-932-7777.