Originally created 01/16/04

Cold-hearted criminals prey on warmed-up cars



It's a dog-eat-dog world, and I'm wearing Milk Bone shorts.

- Kelly Allen

It's supposed to get cold again this weekend, so let me pass along a warning: Don't leave your car running unattended to "warm up."

Not only is a driverless unattended car dangerous, it's really easy to steal.

The all-too-common practice got so bad in Savannah this month that police began enforcing a little-known city ordinance that provides a $100 fine for the misdemeanor offense.

The same thing is going on up the road in Charlotte, but violation of its city ordinance costs $50. North Carolina police blame gang members and "joy-riding" teens for most of the thefts.

Augusta has no ordinance as specific as Savannah or Charlotte, but Sheriff Ronnie Strength said the issue remains the same.

"We've said it 10,000 times. Don't do it," the sheriff said. "Even in hot weather."

Nobody wants to give a thief the keys to their car.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that you warmed it up for him.

  • BASIC GARDENING RULE: When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.

  • TODAY'S JOKE: You might have heard this before.

    It seems a minister was preoccupied with thoughts of how he was going to ask the congregation, after the worship service, to come up with more money than they were expecting for repairs to the church building.

    Therefore, he was annoyed to find that the regular organist was sick and a substitute had been brought in at the last minute.

    The substitute wanted to know what to play.

    "Here's a copy of the service," he said impatiently. "But you'll have to think of something to play after I make the announcement about the finances."

    During the service, the minister paused and said, "Brothers and sisters, we are in great difficulty; the roof repairs cost twice as much as we expected, and we need $4,000 more. Any of you who can pledge $100 or more, please stand up."

    At that moment, the substitute organist played The Star Spangled Banner. And that is how the substitute became the regular organist!

    Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 823-3344 or bill.kirby@augustachronicle.com.