Cold weather gives car thieves in Henrico, Chesterfield new oppo - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Cold weather gives car thieves in Henrico, Chesterfield new opportunities

Multiple cars have been stolen or have had items taken from them over the last few days in neighborhoods from Henrico to Chesterfield. (Source: NBC12) Multiple cars have been stolen or have had items taken from them over the last few days in neighborhoods from Henrico to Chesterfield. (Source: NBC12)
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Multiple cars have been stolen or have had items taken from them over the last few days in neighborhoods from Henrico to Chesterfield.

Since December 22, at least six cars were taken from Chesterfield neighborhoods. Two of those vehicles, one on Chester Road and the other on Brinkley Road, were taken by people who were known to the owners and have been recovered. The other four were stolen from various locations, including driveways and parking lots.

While authorities commonly see auto thefts on the rise during summer months, they have seen an uptick in recent weeks.

"It's all because of the colder weather, people letting their car warm up, think it won't happen to them, they leave their car for a minute and its back," warned First Sgt. Steven Hall with Virginia State Police HEAT program.

That is exactly what Kelvin Balthrop did on Wednesday morning.He turned on his car in his Henrico driveway to warm up the vehicle while he finished getting ready for work. When he looked outside his window, he saw a man getting into the car. He was able to call and get his car de-activated almost immediately.

"They only got about eight blocks away. They were actually out there trying to start my vehicle back up. During that they were ransacking the car, pulling things from the glove compartment and trying to steal my speakers," said Balthrop. He reached out to NBC12 to share his story in hopes of preventing anyone else from falling victim to a similar crime.

It could be possible, according to authorities, that people are canvassing neighborhoods to look for running vehicles to steal.

"It is not unheard of that individuals or small groups may do that. They're going to look for the exhaust coming out of the car, to indicate its sitting there waiting for them and they'll check to see if its open and it's just gone," he explained.

Balthrop believes that is exactly what happened in his neighborhood.

"I saw another car stalling out in the road while the man jumped in my vehicle, then they both took off in the same direction," he said. He also pointed out that neighbors saw that vehicle trying to jumpstart his stolen car after he had deactivated it.

Thieves steal cars not only to sell them or their parts, but to drive it while committing a more serious crime, he said.

The HEAT program offers a $25,000 reward for information about a stolen vehicle or chop shop. You can submit an anonymous tip by going to HEATreward.com. It also provides tips on how to protect your own vehicle.

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