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Thoughtful Police Warning: Idling Cars are a Thief's Invitation to Run Some Errands

Why yes, that idling Lexus does look more pleasant than taking the bus.

Why yes, that idling Lexus does look more pleasant than taking the bus.

During Wednesday morning's deep freeze, two unlucky people in south Minneapolis had their cars stolen when they left them running outside.

John Elder, a spokesperson for the Minneapolis police department, couldn't provide any details on the thefts yet, but over in St. Paul, Sgt. Paul Paulos said idling cars are stolen "all the time."

See also: Letting Your Car Warm Up Is a Huge Waste of Time and Money

"I mean, think about it: You're walking down the street and there's a 27-below windchill and you see that car and have nothing to lose," he says. "It's nice and toasty inside and away you go, no more waiting for the bus or walking."

Earlier this week many of our loyal commenters and emailers angrily dismissed the science showing what a waste of energy and excessive pollution idling cars create.

"This article is simply trash," wrote Taylor Limbeck. "The jackass who wrote it and/or reposted it should go outside and lick a metal pole."

"I wont be taking automotive advice from the haven of liberal ideology," added Lamphan MacMurphy. "Maybe if I need to now what previously acceptable words are now offensive, then i would contact the CP."

Thank you for the thoughtful feedback. Though we should note Minneapolis has a $200 fine for idling for more than three minutes.

But last December the City Pages found that 11 idling cars were stolen in south Minneapolis in just one week.

The good news is that most cars are recovered fairly quickly.

"People will take the car, drive across town to run some errands, and leave the car somewhere else," said Paulos. "Now, there are instances where people will drive the car for a week, but we mainly see these thefts as a quick form of transportation."

Send news tips to Ben Johnson.