El Paso, TX - The El Paso Police Department conducted a two day Auto Theft Task Force operation. The operation started on Tuesday, January 15 and ended on Wednesday.
According to a spokesman, the mission of the task force was to find vehicles that were left unattended and running, otherwise known as 'puffing.' The task force found 68 vehicles, in that two day period that were 'puffing.' The owners of two of those cars were found and given a ticket, one other person was arrested on outstanding warrants.
According to City Ordinance, leaving a vehicle unattended and running is a Class C violation, that could result in a citation and a fine up to $500.
According to the EPPD spokesman, The task force operation was prompted by a rash of auto thefts happening in the months of December and January. All six cars stolen during that time period were people who left their cars running unattended.
The spokesman said people often leave their vehicles 'puffing' because of the cooler temperatures this time of year, but he told ABC 7 that doing so, gives potential auto thieves an easy opportunity to steal your car. The spokesman said that during the two-day operation, the task force arrested 17-year-old Antonio Baries, in Northeast El Paso, as Baries tried to steal a vehicle that was left 'puffing.'
ABC 7 is working with the EPPD to learn tips on how to keep your vehicle and your person safe. We will update you online and on air.