Car thefts on the rise in Austin

With the heat comes a warning from Austin police: don't leave your car on, unattended, just to let it cool off. With temperatures on the rise, police say so are car thefts. Many are linked to drivers leaving their cars on to stay cool while they run quick errands. 

Fox 7 Austin spoke to people doing errands in downtown Austin.

"Compared to last year it's a whole lot worse I mean I’m not good in the heat," said Evelyn Delcid.

Delcid said it can be difficult to get stuff done during the day.

"It's terrible especially when you get in the car and it's all blazing in here," said Delcid.

Your car can be several degrees hotter than it is outside depending on where it is. While it's tempting to beat the heat by letting your car cool off while you’re away, it may not be there when you return.

"If you’re not in your car turn it off and take the keys with you," said Shawn Lapuszynski with the Austin police auto theft unit.

Like the temperatures, car thefts are also on the rise this summer.

"About half of our auto thefts, and we have hundreds every month in the city of Austin, about half of those are keys left in the vehicle," said Lapuszynski. 

Lapuszynski said they are seeing many cases this summer of people leaving their car on while they do quick errands only to return to no car at all.

"You're just going to have to turn your car off and take your keys with you. Sometime there are circumstances where somebody has an animal or something and they want to keep the air conditioner on but even then we've had several instances where someone will have their pet whether it's a dog or something in the car and they'll run inside the store really quick to do whatever business they have to take care of the thieves will then see it and take off with the car and the dog," said Lapuszynski.

Lapuszynski recommends you take everyone, even your pets, with you when you leave your car and lock it or there may be nothing left when you come back.