Car thieves still out in full force during cold weather

While the freezing temperatures during the winter months might keep us indoors, criminals are still out in full force.

Police in Fairfax County are warning the public about car thieves this holiday season. Just last week, a woman became a victim in just a matter of minutes.

"They're watching, and could very well be watching you," said Fairfax County Police Spokesperson Lucy Caldwell. "Last year, we had over 40 vehicles stolen in the month of December."

Last Wednesday, a car was stolen on the 6200 block of Bren Mar Drive in broad daylight.

"There were several vehicles warming up along the street, this particular one was unlocked. The thief jumped in, drove off," said Caldwell.

Officers say the cold can make the conditions ripe for crooks, and it's a warning for us to take extra steps to protect our property.

"Often when your vehicle is stolen, you may never see it again. It may either be wrecked, or it may be involved in a chop-shop..taken apart piece by piece and sold," said Caldwell.

Some safeguards include keeping valuables at home, parking in well-lit areas, and never leaving your keys in the vehicle.

"People may choose to leave it in the console, in the glove compartment or hidden somewhere in the car, and we would urge people not to do that," added Caldwell.

Fairfax resident Susan Biggs says she's been warming up her car in the driveway, but the troubling trend is making her think twice.

"I might be a little more careful about it," said Biggs.

Police say there are car-theft rings in the area that stay active all year round. In 2012, more than 800 vehicles were stolen in Fairfax County, but that's down from 877 in 2011.