ST. CLOUD - The brutal January cold has arrived and police are reminding you to be cautious about leaving your vehicle unattended while it's warming up.

John Justin is a crime prevention specialist with the St. Cloud Police Department, he says while they're warming up, vehicles can be an easy target for thieves.

"The car is likely to be stolen in areas where you see a high volume of other people because that way they can hop into the car and drive away pretty much undetected."

Some states and cities ban idling vehicles. In Colorado for example, law enforcement can cite you if your vehicle is left running unattended.

Minneapolis and St. Paul have ordinances that prohibit a cold weather-idling period. Justin says St. Cloud doesn't have an ordinance, with the exception of a provision that says on West St. Germain between 8th and 10th Avenue, that you can't idle a car for more than five minutes.

Even without a law against it, he urges you to use good judgement and that criminals may keep a watch for vehicles making quick stops in crowded parking lots.

"You need to weigh the risk factors like: Where do you live? How many people are there? How long are you going to idle the car? It's typically the short stops at places like convenience stores, coffee shops and grocery stores where cars get stolen in the wintertime."

As always, Justin says if you see any suspicious activity or people who may be targeting vehicles-you should contact your local law enforcement right away.

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