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Three Arrested In String Of Car ‘Warm-Up’ Thefts

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(L-R) Jessica Bell. Christopher Tolbert, and Charles Sours (Credit: Tarrant Regional Auto Crimes Task)

(L-R) Jessica Bell. Christopher Tolbert, and Charles Sours (Credit: Tarrant Regional Auto Crimes Task)

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HALTOM CITY (CBSDFW.COM) – Three suspects have been arrested by Haltom City Police after a string of ‘warm-up’ thefts in Haltom City and north Fort Worth last week.

Police have arrested Christopher Tolbert, 26, Jessica Bell, 23, and Charles Sours, 20, linking them to 11 vehicle thefts, valued at $136,000.

In each instance, police say the suspects were targeting unoccupied, running vehicles which were warming up during the early morning hours.

After taking the vehicle, the suspects would steal various items inside the car before abandoning it within a short distance of their next victim.

“These are simply crimes of opportunity,” said Sgt. Matt Pedersen, Enforcement Team Leader for the Auto Crimes Task Force.  “During the colder months, more citizens are putting themselves at risk by warming up their vehicles and leaving them unattended, unsupervised.  The steam from a vehicle’s exhaust in cold weather makes it easy for thieves to spot potential targets and to take advantage.”

The suspects are each facing charges of Theft $100K-$200K and Engaging in Organized Crime. The bond for each has been set at $75,000.

While overall crime rates decrease during colder months, police have noticed a trend of ‘warm-up’ crimes with lower temperatures.

“Citizens need to always account for their keys and keep their vehicles locked when unattended,” said Sgt. Pedersen. ” The discomfort of the cold weather does not begin to compare to the discomfort of being an auto theft victim.”

Investigators with the Tarrant Regional Auto Crimes Task Force were called in to assist in the investigation, which spanned multiple jurisdictions.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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