JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A mother says she was just trying to warm up her car on a cold day when it was stolen out of the driveway of her San Marco home.
It took only three minutes for the thief to take off with Diana DiStefano's Nissan Altima.
"I thought it was a bad joke. I mean, who would do that?" DiStefano said. "You don't expect in three minutes your car to disappear."
The mother-of-two said the battery on her key fob broke, so she left her keys in the car while it was running as she tried to heat it up Tuesday morning before taking her kids to school.
"I have a 4-year-old and an 11-year-old, and I didn't want them to be cold," she said.
Not only did the thief get away with her car, but DiStefano said she had some sentimental items inside she also wants returned.
DiStefano said her 2002 Nissan Altima is gold and has a Florida firefighter license plate. She did not reveal the tag number.
DiStefano filed a police report, and officers are on the lookout for her car.
"I just want my vehicle," DiStefano said. "If you're the one who took my vehicle, give it back to me."
According to Florida law, it's illegal to leave a car running while unattended, and drivers in violation face a fine up to $100. It could also earn you some points on your driver's license.
There are better and safer ways to warm up your car.
If you choose to warm up your car by letting it run, stay inside your car or near it at all times. You may also want to consider an automatic starter which allows your car to run without keys.
Make sure you warm up your car in an open space. By running your car in a closed space, you could be exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning.