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Police Report Spike in Car Thefts

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MEDFORD, Ore. — Medford has seen a big jump in car thefts over the past month, and police say the cold weather is partly to blame. The number of cars stolen in December was nearly double the rate in November.

In the morning, some people heading to work have probably found their cars a little frozen over. Instead of waiting in the cold, some people choose to start the car, then go back inside and wait for the car to warm up; police say that’s when thieves move in.

In the month of December, Medford Police got reports of 27 stolen cars. That’s up from 15 in November, and it’s the most police have seen in more than 6 months. Officers say people warming up their cars is a big reason for the increase; the vehicles are just sitting unattended, with the doors unlocked and the keys right there in the ignition.

“They’re in the driveway, they leave it running for 10 minutes or so, and a thief will come along and steal it. And that’s something we’ve actually been seeing pretty consistently through the month of December,” said Medford Police Lt. Mike Budreau.

But police say they might not have to cast a wide net in order to find out who did it. They said serial car thieves are pretty well known to police, and they expect that 2 suspects are probably responsible for the majority of the car thefts over the past month.