"Too cold to walk" for Canadian car thieves

Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:40pm EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - A group of teenage car thieves took a joy ride to a court-ordered counseling program aimed to keep them away from stealing cars, Winnipeg police said on Tuesday.

The four suspects, aged 16 and 17, were attending the counseling program in the Canadian prairie city as part of a court order relating to previous auto thefts, said Detective Sergeant Kevin Kavitch of the city's stolen-autos unit.

A local newspaper suggested the teens had stolen the car because it was "too cold to walk" to their court ordered training program, although Kavitch described it as a crime of opportunity. Winnipeg daytime temperatures dipped to -40 degrees Celsius (-40 Fahrenheit) last week, with wind chill.

Kavitch said three of the four suspects are level four offenders, the highest designation for chronic auto thieves in the city.

More than a dozen cars are stolen every day in Winnipeg, and the city has introduced a program where high-risk offenders are called as often as every three hours to ensure they are not out stealing cars.

"This is the perfect example of where you get a lot of resources going to certain people," said Kavitch. "And some people still make dumb decisions."