FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- As temperatures cool down, car crimes are going up. Fayetteville Police are investigating more than half a dozen car thefts this year alone.
"The overwhelming majority of them at least in Fayetteville is because someone left their vehicle unsecured, left a key inside of it or they've left their vehicle running," said Sergeant Shawn Strepay.
One victim ABC11 spoke with said he was sitting inside his unlocked car at a gas station when a suspect forced his way in.
"He jumped in the vehicle and told me to drive," the man explained.
The victim was able to jump out of the car to call 911.
"It was fight or flight. I flight. So if he was going to shoot me he was going to shoot me but I wasn't going to be in the vehicle," the victim said.
The man's car was gone for a few days. When police finally found it, all of his valuables were gone too.
"When a car is a stolen they're not just stealing them to joy ride around there actually using them to commit serious crimes in Fayetteville and surrounding areas," said Strepay.
With the cold snap and potential wintry weather this weekend, it can be tempting to warm up the car before you take off for work or leave it running as you run in the convenience store but police say the inconvenience of being car-less or careless isn't worth it.
"It's never a good idea. If you're going to do something like that invest in the remote start feature or at least at a minimum lock the doors and keep a separate key with you. But the best thing to do is not do it at all," said Strepay.
As temps cool down, car crimes in Fayetteville heat up