Crime & Courts

Anchorage police warn against leaving cars idling to warm up amid wave of thefts

Anchorage police are asking the public to avoid leaving keys in running cars after more than a dozen vehicles have been stolen in the last 36 hours.

Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said Tuesday that 13 cars were taken Monday in a "spree of stolen vehicles."

"A majority of these cases include incidents where the drivers left their keys in their running vehicle to warm it up," Castro wrote. "As of this morning, one vehicle was reported to have been stolen off of Hoyt Street around 6:30 a.m. Another vehicle was reported stolen on East 11th Avenue at 6:34 a.m. and the third vehicle was reported stolen on Meadow View Drive at 8:07 a.m."

Police also learned after 8:30 a.m. of a fourth stolen vehicle, taken from East 16th Avenue.

"It was reported to police that the vehicle was running with the keys in the ignition prior to the vehicle being stolen," Castro wrote in a subsequent statement.

Castro said Tuesday morning that while not all of the stolen vehicles were left idling, most of them were. She said police didn't yet have suspect information on the individual thefts, or any indication whether some or all of the cases may be linked.

"Normally, what we see on average could be a car to three cars stolen in a day," Castro said. "To have 16 vehicles taken in 24 hours is out of the norm."


According to Castro, the vehicles stolen Tuesday morning include:

--A red 1991 Chevy Truck with a red tonneau cover and license plate FJB112

--A white 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser with pink rims and license plate OMYHEC

--A blue 2012 Ford Fusion with license plate GJB444

?--A blue 2011 Toyota Corolla with license plate GEH107

Police ask people who see any of the stolen vehicles to call dispatchers at 786-8900.