Harrisburg police will take keys from unattended, running cars

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — After 48 car thefts this year, Harrisburg police are taking a new approach to cracking down on “puffing.”

“Most of these cars are stolen early morning. It’s cold, people are getting out of their house, they turn on their car, they run back inside because it’s cold and they leave them running,” said Captain Gabe Olivera.

“Puffing” is when a driver leaves their car running and unattended. The Pennsylvania Auto Theft Prevention Authority says 50 percent of car thefts are because the keys are in the car.

“Unfortunately, we literally have people looking for cars warming up. They literally get in the car and drive away. It takes seconds,” said Olivera.

Officers will now begin to turn off cars and take the keys if they see running and unattended cars.

“Making it very inconvenient for whoever owns the car, because now they have to get a ride to the station to get their keys. And if it’s after hours, you won’t get those keys back until the next business day,” Olivera said.

Police are investigating seven car thefts in the span of 24 hours earlier this week.

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