ST. PAUL, Minn. - Chilly temperatures are prompting vehicle owners to throw caution to the wind when warming up their cars, and St. Paul Police say it's resulting in thefts.

Last December, 33 cars were stolen within two weeks throughout the City of St. Paul.

"We want to avoid a repeat of that," said Sgt. Mike Ernster. "They were all running with the keys in the ignition."

It's unsafe and against the law to leave your car running with keys in the ignition. Police say cold temperatures and convenience are the reasons drivers are taking the risk.

"People want to be warm. Want to have the convenience of coming out to a warm car. So they'll start it up, come back, wait 10-15 minutes and come back to get ready to go to work, school or wherever, their vehicle might not be there," said Ernster.

Police say in September, 13 cars that were running with keys in the ignition were stolen.

Last month, there were 35.

And police say they fear as the temperatures continue to drop, those numbers could climb.

"If you want to guarantee that your vehicle is not going to be gone, don't leave it unoccupied, running or with keys in it," said Ernster.

He says many of these cars are not recovered right away.