The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the theft of three automobiles that were left unattended to warm up about 6:30 a.m. Jan. 31 and is reminding citizens that, although leaving cars to warm up is common during the winter months, it presents an easy opportunity for car thieves and is against the law.

A black 1997 Dodge Avenger coupe bearing Alabama tag 58F0F was stolen from outside a residence in the 2900 block of Hadley Drive. In the 2800 block of Hadley Drive, suspect(s) stole a black 1999 Pontiac Sunfire sedan bearing Ohio tag DMN3860. In the 11800 block of Edmont Place nearby, suspect(s) stole a black 2001 Nissan Pathfinder with silver trim around the wheel wells. The Pathfinder bears Maryland tags 577M293.

This is not the first time this winter cars have been stolen while they were left to warm up. On Dec. 15, three cars were stolen outside other residences in Waldorf and several days later, a Chevrolet Lumina was stolen from outside an Indian Head home. In each instance, the owners of the vehicles started their cars and went back inside their houses for a few minutes, only to return to find their cars had been stolen. Detectives arrested two juveniles and an adult for the Indian Head case but no arrests have been made in the Waldorf thefts.

The Sheriff’s Office urges citizens to refrain from leaving any vehicle unattended while its key is in the ignition, even if the doors of the vehicle are locked. However, the Sheriff’s Office recognizes some citizens will continue to start their cars and leave them to warm up. Those citizens are advised to use a steering wheel locking mechanism – which may deter a thief – but are reminded they may receive a ticket if a police officer finds the car.

Those with information about the vehicle thefts should call the Sheriff’s Office at 301-932-7777. Citizens may also report their tips anonymously by calling Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS. Crime Solvers offers rewards of up to $1,000 for information about a crime that leads to an arrest or indictment.