Puffers: Protect Your Car from Theft

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During the winter months, it’s tempting to leave our cars running in the morning to warm them up. It’s easier than scraping the ice off our windows and waiting with the car while it warms. Too often thieves patrol neighborhoods watching for people who leave their cars running. This week, Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT) and Colorado Auto Theft Investigators (CATI) have partnered to warn people against leaving their car unattended while it warms up. Those who risk auto theft in this way are affectionately called “puffers.”

In the State of Colorado, it is actually illegal to leave your car unattended and running the engine according to Colorado Revised Statute 42-4-1206:

No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without rst stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key from the ignition, and effectively setting the brake thereon, and, when standing upon any grade, said person shall turn the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway in such a manner as to prevent the vehicle from rolling onto the traveled way. Any person who violates any provision of this section commits a class B traffic infraction.

According to Coloradans Against Auto Theft and Colorado Auto Theft Investigators, the public can prevent auto theft by:

  • Never leave your car running unattended.
  • Always lock your car.
  • Never leave any keys in the car, even a spare set.
  • Never leave valuables in plain sight.
  • Always park in well-lit, high-traffic areas.
  • Get windows, doors and fenders etched with the VIN.
  • Consider installing a tracking and recovery device.
  • Check out www.lockdownyourcar.org for more prevention tips, local statistics and a Hot Spot map with geo-locator tool allowing users to search auto theft in their area.

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