Unlocked cars left running, while unattended is illegal in S.C.

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Greenville Police Officers say in the cold months they see a rash of auto thefts, most often due to people leaving their cars running in driveways and at gas station. 

Starting the car and going back inside is part of many people’s morning routine in the winter. 

“Do you ever keep an eye on it?” Asked 7News Reporter Stefany Bornman. 

“Unfortunately no, because I trust my neighborhood,” said Ray Onukogu. 

Sgt. Jonathan Bragg says even the safest communities in Greenville aren’t free of criminals lurking for cars left running and unsupervised. 

“And the concerning part is really just that the people who are stealing cars are really just using the cars as a disguise, because they can use that car to go commit more crimes and it can’t be tied back to them.” Sgt. Bragg told 7News. 

Investigators say the most recent auto theft happened on Tuesday morning at a home on Fleming St. in Greenville. According to police the owner left the car running in the driveway and 5 minutes later noticed their truck was gone. 

Officers were able to recover the truck and arrested 18-year-old Terrence Glover for Auto Theft. 

While officers say it’s against the law to leave a vehicle with the keys inside and unlocked, 7News asked if the rule applies to newer cars that can be started with the key from a distance. 

Sgt. Bragg says no, but for a very specific reason. 

“Well see most of those are equipped to where the car won’t even unlock and if someone even did jump in the car and try to take it, once you hit the break and without the key in the ignition it’s going to cut off anyway.” Sgt. Bragg said. 

The best thing you can do to protect your vehicle from being stole is turn it on and sit in it while it’s warming up. 

Glover’s bond was set at $7,500 dollars. 

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