On a frigid day, Michael Tran of Boston turned on his car ignition as he prepared to leave work and went back inside while it thawed. Within three minutes, the car was gone – without Tran in it, says the Boston Globe. Thirteen times so far this bitterly cold month, residents have had idling cars stolen as they warmed up in driveways, streets, and parking lots. Boston police are pleading with residents to stop leaving vehicles unlocked and running like so much ripe fruit for thieves. “Any time anybody leaves their vehicle running, it’s a target,” said police official Robert Dunford “But a rash of 13 is exceptional.”
For victims, it has meant not just the distress of having something valuable stolen but no small amount of chagrin in knowing that their own actions set the stage for the crime. “Embarrassing? Yes, quite so,” said the owner of a Ford Windstar. She said she backed her car into the street to let a neighbor pull out of the driveway and left it running while she scurried inside to get warm. When she went back outside a few minutes later, her minivan was gone.