Sofia Hit by Wave of 'Running Engine' Car Theft
Fifteen automobiles, left unattended for minutes by owners, with running engines and unlocked doors, have been stolen in the Bulgarian capital Sofia in the first three days of February.
The news was reported Friday by the Head of the anti-Car Theft Unit at the Sofia Directorate of the Interior, Dimitar Mashov, cited by the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR.
Most of the stolen vehicles are luxury SUVs, with three of them disappearing in the last 24 hours.
Police call on drivers to not leave their automobiles unattended and running. The thefts happened when someone left their car to buy a newspaper from a stand; another – to accompany a relative to the hospital door, others were closing their garages or running to the grocery store.
Such car theft is increasing when the weather is cold and drivers don't want to turn the engine off in order to keep the interior warm.
Mashov points out that the car thief needs only 10 seconds to jump inside and drive away and that cheaper cars are not at all safe.
If the car cannot be located, the owner cannot be compensated from the insurer because they must present all keys and documents when filing the claim, and they usually disappear with the stolen vehicle.
The stolen cars are most often sold as spare parts. Sometime thieves drive them until the tank gets empty and then abandon them.
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