Police remind motorists not to leave vehicles running for heating

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - What is the easiest way for a thief to steal your car? Just leave it running unattended tomorrow morning.

St Louis police reported more than 50 cars left idling and unattended have already been stolen in 2016. That's what happened Thursday morning at a QuikTrip gas station in Overland. A man left his Chevy Tahoe SUV unlocked and running when he went inside to pay for gas. When he returned, the vehicle was gone.

University City police spotted the stolen SUV on Olive, heading east. They turned on lights and sirens and pulled the driver over, but he then took off, reaching speeds as high as 60 mph. University City police ended the pursuit when the driver turned north on Skinker into the southbound lanes. He then ran head-on into another driver. Both suffered minor injuries.

The suspect, described as a 19-year-old man, attempted to flee on foot, but was eventually caught and arrested. Both Overland and University City police will seek criminal charges against the suspect.

Meanwhile, Overland Police Chief Mike Laws urges residents to lock their cars if they must leave them running unattended.

"I'm not trying to put the blame on the driver, by any means; obviously, the fault of this is on the thief," he said.

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