Saturday, December 3, 2022

Ukiah Police Warn of ‘Warm-Up Thefts’— Thieves Targeting Defrosting Vehicles


The following is a press release issued by the Ukiah Police Department

Over the past two months, Ukiah Police Department has received numerous reports of stolen vehicles. Most of these vehicles had been left unattended, in front of residences warming up.  UPD refers to these stolen vehicles as “warm-up thefts” as the common factor is that on a cold morning the owner chose to leave the vehicle running in an attempt to get the windows defrosted or at minimum the interior warmed. While we understand the inconvenience of sitting in a cold vehicle while the interior temperature increases to a comfortable level, the alternative of having the vehicle stolen is extreme.  

There are alternative measures that can be taken to keep the vehicle’s windshield from icing,  on these cold mornings. The least expensive measure is to put a bath towel, or similar type of  fabric, on your vehicle’s windshield the night before. There are also numerous windshield covers that are available for purchase at retail stores or via on-line purchasing sites.  

The purpose of this press release is to raise awareness around this issue as there are subjects who actively look for “warm-up” vehicles on cold mornings. These subjects will seize any opportunity to steal a vehicle that is left running and is unattended, and the window of opportunity is commonly less than 30 seconds for the theft to be completed. UPD will increase patrols in the morning hours, but our staff cannot be everywhere at once. Together with the community’s assistance and vigilance, we can reduce the number of vehicles stolen within the  City of Ukiah.  

For other tips on how to reduce the chance of becoming a victim of a “warm-up theft”, an internet search of “AAA how to reduce warm up vehicle thefts” can provide other useful information. 

As always, our mission at UPD is to make Ukiah as safe a place as possible. If you would like  to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cellphone, and  email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website;  



    • I don’t think insurance will cover this as a stolen vehicle due to ignorance of leaving the keys in your car for any reason.

      • I think that we should be talking more about why there are zero reprocussions for these repeat thieves and not why working class people want to warm up their car in 25f weather and hope to have a little trust in other people and our justice system.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
I like to think of myself as a journalist for the everyman. Journalism has become a craft practiced largely by the urban elite. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at if you know a story that needs to be told.

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