Car Thefts Increase In Winter

RENO, NV - Back in the beginning of 2007, Reno police reported a total of 20 unattended vehicles stolen in 10 days.

Sometimes the burglaries can have dire consequences.

In Bakersfield four years ago, police say the thief was armed---shot the driver and was eventually shot by police when they say he rolled the car and grabbed for something inside the vehicle and ran away.

Local law enforcement knows car burglaries go up once temperatures go down.

“The sheriff's office sees between a 40% and 50% increase in vehicle thefts. We attribute that directly to the practice of people leaving vehicles running,” says Sergeant Ralph Caldwell with Washoe County Sheriffs Office.

Leaving a car idling on the street with the key in it is illegal in Nevada under most circumstances.

Over the past three years, though, some car owners have decided to make an investment in remote car starters.

Curtis Wethee from Nevada Auto Sound has such a device attached to his truck.

With a remote control, he can even start his diesel and get into a warm car in about 12 minutes.

“Somebody were to break your window or open your door and get in your car, they touch the brake on the car, its going to disable it any way. And they don't have the key to go anywhere,” says Wethee.

Wethee says the remote car starter business picks up when the snow falls, and makes up a big part of their bottom line during the winter months. I

Installing such a device starts at about $300 and can go up from there.

Some systems will even include APPS for your cell phone that can not only start, but lock the car and roll up the windows.

These systems are becoming more common in new model cars, but if you are thinking about having one installed in an older model vehicle, check with a dealer and see who they would recommend.

Depending upon the sophistication of your remote car starter, installation can take up to half a day.