Maybe you have done it...cold weather, you stop to run into a store for just a minute, your car is in plain sight, so you leave it running...police say that is a big mistake.

Two weeks ago Felicia Richardson did just that and headed into the store on East Delevan, a car thief approached her running vehicle while her eight-year-old son was still inside.

“And he was rummaging or looking in the car and Jeremiah knew something wasn’t right and the guy told him to get out,” said Felicia Richardson who had her car stolen in Cheektowaga.

Her son Jeremiah had the presence of mind to run into the store to his Mom, and the thief drove away with the running car.

“He could have took of with Jeremiah in the car and basically something bad could have happened. People are just desperate,” Richardson added.

Car theft has skyrocketed in Western New York... it’s happening on average four times a day in Buffalo.

Asst. Chief Brian Gould of the Cheektowaga Police Department commented...

“What we are seeing so often is people are pulling in and because they’re only running for a minute they think it’s OK to leave their car running.”

Cheektowaga police, because of the frequency of car thefts have been proactively going around and putting signs in the windows of businesses to remind patrons what can happen if you leave your car running

“There is some responsibility to owning a car. Our concern is some of the kids stealing the cars are young kids who don’t have experience driving, who are not going to stop when Police tried to pull them over. So it is creating a public safety issue. That is easily preventable is the bottom line,” Gould added.

A 17-year-old was arrested for stealing Felicia's car that was discovered about a mile away.

The Assistant Police Chief continued,

“Maybe it’s kids walking down the street, notice a car running, and instead of walking the next mile to get home, they hop in a car and dump it around the corner.”

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