ROCKFORD — The cold winter turned out to be a boon to car thieves in northern Illinois.
In the city of Rockford alone, almost half the vehicles stolen so far this year were left running and unattended by people trying to warm their cars or keep them toasty while they ran a quick errand.
That's according to Illinois State Police Sgt. Mark Galindo. He is director of the Northern Illinois Auto Theft Task Force.
The Rockford Register Star reports that authorities believe some of the vehicles were cut up into parts and sold as scrap.
Galindo said most were used as getaway cars in other crimes.
Speaking at a town hall event Thursday, he said thefts could be reduced sharply with simple steps, including never leaving vehicles running and unattended.