Warming up a car before driving is generally considered unnecessary, and puts it at risk for theft.
The San Jose Police Department is trying to warn residents about warm-up car thefts. According to Media Relations Unit, “car thieves may be on the prowl for your car during these cold weather months” when people sometimes start up their cars and then go back inside, leaving it unattended while it’s running. And when this occurs near an area where there is known crime, the potential for theft increases even more.
SJPD are trying to warn car owners to never leave their car running or the keys in the ignition when away from it, even for just a minute. Doors and windows should be locked, and people should never leave any valuables or the title (also known as the pink slip) in the car. If the car is stolen and the thief has the title, it is much easier to “dispose” of. It can also make the victim at risk for identity theft.
According to Santa Clara County court documents, 32-year-old Aaron Martinez along with two known associates were arrested on charges related to the theft if a vehicle under penal code 10851(a). Martinez was also charged with auto theft with a prior – PC 666.5.
Martinez was a passenger in a stolen 1992 white Honda Accord traveling along Hicks Road near Arnerich Road in San Jose on Friday, August 21. A San Jose patrol officer noticed the people inside the vehicle, and a bicycle sticking out from the trunk. Thinking the vehicle looked suspicious, the officer drove up alongside and asked the driver if they needed help. The occupants seemed suspicious and evasive at the question, so the officer felt that he should run the license plate on the vehicle. After contacting dispatch, the car was confirmed to have been stolen out of the town of Gilroy.
The officer made an enforcement stop. He called for backup while ordering the three suspects to keep their hands out of their pockets and sit and wait while another officer arrived. Martinez and the driver, Adrian Carter, were arrested for the vehicle theft. Martinez was also arrested for warrants under VC 14601.1(a), driving with a suspended license, and VC 16028(a), failure to provide financial responsibility. The third suspect was charged with possession of a controlled substance because he was found to have methamphetamine with him.
Thieves can often appear from seemingly anywhere and take a vehicle without warning, but that is not to say that people cannot help protect their cars and valuables from theft. One should always lock away expensive items in the trunk while away from the vehicle, and never leave it running unattended to avoid becoming an easy target.
The next court date for Martinez has been set for December 8 at 8:30 AM in Dept 38 at the San Jose Hall of Justice.