RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) --Crooks are taking advantage of the cold and Katrena Parker became a victim Monday morning in Raleigh.
Parker's 2005 black Ford Escape was ripped off by car thieves who stole it right out of the driveway of her southeast Raleigh home she's lived in for 16 years.
"Usually I'll go crank the car up and I'll have two sets of keys -- one set with remote entry key to lock the door," Parker said.
With morning temperatures in the teens, Parker says she left the car running to get it warm. She used her key remote to lock the car doors while she went back inside. Thieves saw an opportunity, and pounced.
"I get ready to go back, hit the key to open the door and my son goes, 'there's no car!' " Parker said.
Making matters worse, Parker had put her purse inside the car while it was warming up.
"They have my identification, they have my bank card, my healthcare information," Parker said.
Raleigh Police told Parker that what happened to her is an all-too-common crime in the cold weather. Several local departments have been issuing warnings recently.
"When it's this cold, (residents) go start their car, go back inside to finish getting ready. They come out and (their) car is going to be gone," said Sgt. Shawn Strepay of the Fayetteville Police Department.
"I will never do this again. I have learned a big lesson from this," Parker said in hopes her story serves as a warning for others. "Don't do it. Learn from my lesson, don't do it."
Police advise car owners to never leave your car unattended while it's running.
And car experts say the most efficient way to warm your car up in the cold weather is to just drive it. The fluids and the heat will warm up a lot faster if the car is moving rather than just sitting in your driveway.
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