Never leave your car running unattended

Delaware State Police are warning the public about leaving their cars unattended while idling.

The Delaware State Police Troop 3 Property Crimes Unit has been handling a rash of vehicle thefts occurring in the Kent County area. While some of the thefts have been occurring from car dealerships and rental car businesses after hours, others have been from gas stations at which a vehicle was left unattended, idling and unlocked.

The most common practice is a victim leaving their car running in a parking lot while they go into a store for a quick purchase. Car thieves look for unattended idling cars that they can simply walk up to and drive away.

Delaware law states that "no person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key and effectively setting the brake thereon and, when standing upon any grade, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway." Fines range from $25 to $75.

The suspects in the most recent cases appear to be juvenile males. Anyone with information regarding these incidents is asked to contact Detective Nash at (302) 698-8444 or Detective Beck at (302) 698-8527. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or via the internet at http://delaware.crimestoppersweb.com.