(WFXG) - With cooler temperatures, starting up your car and leaving it unattended to warm up or to run into a store could lead to a citation for South Carolina drivers. It is a law that's been on the books for years.
"We had an incident where somebody drove off and there was actually a child in the car seat in the back of the car.", says Lt. Karl Odenthal, with Aiken Public Safety.
Lt. Odenthal says Aiken has seen its fair share of car thefts and a big reason, unattended cars. Enforcing the law could help reduce and prevent vehicle thefts, especially during this time of the year.
Aiken resident Darrell Robinson supports enforcement, especially now when crime is happening more and more. "Always take your keys out the ignition before you go in the store the grocery store or wherever you go – even at home, because you never know who in the neighborhood might snatch your car."
knowing how, when, and where to lock your car and to leave it running are just some ways officials say you can help them, no matter where you live.
"We have to devote a lot of our investigative resources to recovering the vehicle, looking for it, entering it into the crime database, there is a lot of different things that happen when you have a vehicle stolen.", explains Lt. Odenthal
Lt. Odenthal says vehicle theft is a seasonal crime and it's peak season with Thanksgiving and Christmas both right around the corner. If you're wondering about those citations, in South Carolina you could face a $75 dollar penalty.
Editor's Note: We originally reported that there is a $500 fine in Georgia for leaving a vehicle running unattended. This is incorrect, as the law was repealed in 2007.