MESA COUNTY, Colo. With a winter storm on the horizon and chilly temperatures, law enforcement is warning drivers of a common cold weather practice that may be putting you at risk.
For many, it’s tempting to warm up your car before getting into it this winter season, but leaving your car running unattended or ‘puffing’ puts you and your vehicle at risk.
The tell-tale puffs of exhaust from your vehicle may be all it takes to catch the attention of a car thief.
Puffing is the term used to describe the action when one starts their vehicle and leaves it unattended. And the common practice of puffing is what law enforcement statewide is warning against this winter season.
“It makes you a very easy target for car thieves. They have everything they need, right there, to steal your car,” said Kate Porras of The Western Colorado Auto Theft Task Force.
On top of taking your car, you may have personal information in your vehicle, such as registration papers, house keys, a garage opener and even worse, children.
“That just adds another layer to it because then your kids are in your car, you’re not there and then your whole world is gone,” said Porras.
There are some tips for keeping your car warm so you don’t have to puff. Such as, throwing a blanket or towel over your windshield before snowfall, this will help prevent ice from forming on the windshield overnight.
And in Mesa County, we are not immune to auto thefts. According to the Grand Junction Police Department, the county sees a couple hundred car thefts every single year.
The Western Colorado Auto Theft Task Force is a multi-jurisdictional operation, with the mission of preventing car theft within Mesa County.
Officials say they aren’t looking to ticket drivers for ‘puffing,’ they simply want to spread the message that the practice makes their cars an easy target for auto theft.