Prince George RCMP are warning residents that colder temperatures are often accompanied by an increase in car thefts.

Thieves may be targeting unattended vehicles that are left idling with keys in the ignition.

Yesterday (Monday), RCMP reported three thefts, and they expect more as the week continues.

The authorities encourage the public to consider purchasing a remote starter or to stay with their vehicle as it warms up.

“Every time we get these cold spells we get a number of vehicles stolen solely because the keys were still in the ignition,” said Cpl. Craig Douglass.

Police consider the thefts crimes of opportunity and remind the public that leaving an unattended, unsecured vehicle idling is a violation of the BC Motor Vehicle Act.

“It’s somebody who is walking by, who sees a vehicle running and may not even know how to steal a car, but knows how to drive one. They just open the door, get in, and drive away,” Douglass added.

Police warn that car insurance may be voided by this type of theft, leaving owners on the hook.