Sioux Falls Police are investigating a rash of snow blower thefts throughout the city.
And there seems to be a common theme surrounding these wintertime crimes.
Snow blowers have been getting quite a workout across KELOLAND this winter. Authorities are warning homeowners that the next time you use yours, you better store it away. Or you may not be able to find it the next time it snows.
"It seems every winter, we'll have a handful of snow blowers that end up disappearing but to have this amount in just the short amount of time is very unusual," Sioux Falls Police Public Information Officer Sam Clemens said.
Sixteen snow blowers have vanished since December. Sioux Falls Police say homeowners are making two common mistakes.
"They're left outside, and they're left unlocked," Clemens said.
Those are two things one homeowner would never do.
"Doesn't surprise me a whole lot. I would say never consider leaving without locking it up," Sioux Falls homeowner Scott Aanenson said.
After pushing snow with a shovel last winter, Aanenson invested in not one, but two new snow blowers for the new year. He's keeping them both, safely stored away until the heavy snow returns.
"Sioux Falls is generally pretty good about that kind of stuff, but it's tempting when you have this much snow and you don't have a snow blower. I could see where they walk-off," Aanenson said.
If there's no room to store it in your garage, you may need to take extra precautions.
"Anything to lock it up; a chain is good thing. Or keep it out of sight," Clemens said.
And help prevent this seasonal crime of opportunity from happening to you. Police say many of the missing snow blowers have been left on driveways or on the side of a home. Most of the thefts happened at night.