By Makenzie O'Keefe

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– Aurora police say auto theft continues to be an issue across the city, and officers are looking for drivers who warm up their cars without being inside them. This week is “Puffer Week” in Colorado, which focuses on the dangers of leaving cars unattended while running on cold days.

(credit: CBS)

In Aurora so far this week, officers have contacted more than 100 puffers, issuing 77 warnings and eight citations.

“We see it a lot,” explained Aurora Police Officer Michael Iovine. “Last year, 20,000 cars were stolen and it takes about 10 seconds to steal a car.”

(credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Makenzie O’Keefe rode along with Iovine while he was on “puffer patrol” on Wednesday. In just a few hours, Iovine found five cars left running while unattended.

“We sat on a car for about 20 minutes and the person never came out,” he explained. “So we decided to write that person a ticket, unfortunately.”

(credit: CBS)

While puffing is illegal, this week is all about educating drivers about the dangers of puffing. Police say it can lead to other crimes across the city.

(credit: CBS)

“People, like me if I’m a criminal, come and steal your car,” Iovine told a driver, who left his car running and unlocked in a gas station parking lot. “And then your car is used in shootings and other carjackings and stuff like that, so we don’t want that to happen.”

(credit: CBS)

Police say drivers who have a remote start, can legally use it to warm up their vehicles.

2020 Aurora Police Department Puffer Stats (so far) Puffer Week Jan. 29:

Total number of puffers contacted: 104
Warnings/Literature Provided: 77
Summonses Issued: 8
Recovered Stolen: 1
Vehicles Towed: 2
Stolen Plates Recovered: 6
Arrests: 1

Makenzie O'Keefe

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