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Stupid Case File for January 30, 2005

Smart Criminals, Stupid People ??

Courtesy of

By Kate Hopwood
TORONTO (Reuters) - The price of starting your morning commute in a warm car during Eastern Canada's recent cold snap could easily have been making your vehicle a hot car in the hands of organized thieves, Toronto police say.
Police said on Monday there has been a rash of car thefts in Toronto's affluent neighborhoods as thieves prowl in search of cars left running in driveways to get them warmed up.
The thieves seek out affluent neighborhoods and specific types of cars, police said. They follow weather reports and stake out their prey on cold and snowy mornings.
"If banks left their doors open and put $75,000 in cash on the counter, you'd have criminals coming from all over to take that money," said Detective Jim Gotell of Toronto police's Special Investigation Services.
"This is the exact same thing. Criminals know where the affluent cars are, and they're coming because there's a $75,000 vehicle just waiting to be taken."
Two-thirds of cars stolen in the winter of 2003-2004 were sport utility vehicles and the trend is continuing this year, police said. Luxury SUVs made by Lexus, Acura and BMW are the most frequent targets.
More than 10,000 cars were stolen in Toronto in 2003, the most recent statistics available.
Automatic car starters are not much protection, police said, because the devices bypass the vehicle's electronic security when they are installed.
The best prevention: Sit in your car as it warms up. "Unfortunately, that's the best thing you can do," Gotell said.


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