Car thefts hit four year high

SPOKANE, Wash. - Boosting cars is boosting some businesses in Spokane. It's a pain to have your car stolen, but some rental car companies are helping more people than ever find temporary rides.

The stories are coming in, faster than cars are being returned at Avis Rental Car. 

"About a week ago a lady returned her (rental) car. They recovered (her stolen car), but she had to get another car for her daughter because her car was stolen," Avis Rental Car owner Kelly Bleggi said.

Stolen cars up in Spokane

A good chunk of the cars are rolling off Bleggi's lot because people's cars are rolling out of their driveways. Bleggi said, luckily, when insurance covers it many of them don't have to pay a lot.

"It's happening more often than it has ever since I've taken over this location in the last five years," Bleggi said.

According to Spokane police reports, Bleggi is right. In 2012, the amount of cars stolen each week on average was 43. In 2011, it was 39. In 2010, it was 41 a week while in 2009 35 cars a week were taken.

Police are warning people, as they do every year, that when temperatures drop and the temptation to warm your car up without you in it increases, don't. They said it's the most preventable way cars are stolen. 

It's also illegal to leave your car running without you in it.

"It's 30 seconds," Spokane Police Officer Jennifer DeRuwe said. "That person needs to just stay in their car and maintain ownership of the car, and what we'll find is that if people leave their car unattended with the engine running, bad guys will come, crime of opportunity, and they'll steal those cars."

Bleggi also said the lady whose car was stolen, and then her daughter's was stolen, had multiple car keys on one keychain. Officers say if that happens to you make sure to get the other car re-keyed.