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Ask a Trooper: A running, unlocked vehicle welcomes thieves

Question: I don't have a remote starter installed in my car. Is it illegal to leave it running while I go inside my house as it warms up and defrosts the windows?

Answer: There is no state law that prohibits it, but many cities have local ordinances against it. Check your local city ordinances in reference to this rule.

Leaving your car running unattended is also an invitation for thieves. Just the other day, there was an attempt to locate a stolen vehicle that occurred in a city where the owner left the vehicle running unattended. This happens far too often.

There are many vehicle thefts where the vehicle was unattended with the keys inside, doors unlocked, and engine running. This makes it very easy for auto thieves to steal your vehicle. Get into the habit of locking your vehicle each time you are going to leave it and take the keys with you.

By following the below tips, you can reduce your chances of having your vehicle and/or your property inside it stolen.

• Never leave your car running unattended.

• Never leave your keys in the vehicle.

• Always lock your vehicle.

• Look at purchasing a remote car starter as most of them have built-in security features while your vehicle is running to prevent the vehicle from being driven.

• Don't leave valuables in plain sight. Place valuable items in the trunk if you can't take them with you.

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow — Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at,