Thieves are targeting motorists who leave their cars running at home for up to an hour to warm up on frosty mornings.
Police have revealed cars left to warm up were an easy steal for eager thieves.
Central West Police District crime manager Bruce Grassick told a community policing meeting this week the practice was attracting thieves like “sharks and berley”.
“There were people warming up the car in the driveway for an hour and they were getting stolen,” he said.
“It doesn’t take long to warm up a car, you can warm it up in a minute.
“They’re berley in the water.”
Mr Grassick also warned motorists not to leave their keys in their cars even if they were in locked garages.
He said that if thieves found the keys to the garage in the house they could drive the car away loaded up with property stolen from the house.
“Keep your car locked and take your valuables with you,” he said.
Mr Grassick also warned tradies to lock the toolboxes on their vehicles at work, at home and when they were at the pub after work.
He said there had been an increase in theft from motor vehicles.
“We have seen a slight spike [this year],” he said.
There were 30 reports in April compared to 17 in the same month the year before.
“We are still trying to get the message to people with utes to lock their tools.
“While they are in the house working they [thieves] will steal from their motor vehicle.”
“We will continue to work with tradies on this,” he said.
Mr Grassick said there had been a fall in the number of cars stolen in Orange this year.
“We have seen a massive decrease, with the exception of April we have seen a significant downward trend in stolen cars.”
Mr Grassick said the spate of cars being stolen and burnt out by thieves that occurred last year had been stopped.
“There are as many cars being stolen and burnt out in Parkes as there are in Orange,” he said.
The latest Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research figures show that 120 cars were stolen in Orange in the year to March, compared to 146 the year before.
And they showed there were 302 cases of stealing from a motor vehicle to March, compared to 366 the year before.
Mr Grassick said the current profile of car thieves in Orange was 86 per cent were male, aged 15-17 years and 57 per cent of them were unemployed.
Orange mayor Cr Reg Kidd asked Mr Grassick at the Orange and Cabonne Shire Community Safety Precinct Committee meeting on Thursday about number plate theft in the region.
Mr Grassick said plates were often stolen to put on another car to use in committing a crime.
“They do put them on other cars, usually stolen cars, and a car of a similar make and model,” he said.
“We have actually had a plate taken that never ended up anywhere else.
“And years later we will see that plate circulate.”