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Auto thefts were up 21 percent in January in Madison compared to the previous January, with most of the stolen vehicles having the keys inside.

Police Chief Mike Koval said in a blog posting that 58 vehicles were taken last month compared to 48 a year ago, with 43 of the stolen vehicles already recovered.

"We are still seeing the majority of stolen autos taking place due to keys being left inside the vehicle," Koval said. "In fact, 50 of the 58 vehicles had keys in them, and 29 of those vehicles were running."

January can be one of the coldest months, but Koval said that's not a good reason to leave your car unattended while it's warming up.

"We know drivers want to warm up their vehicles, or run inside quickly to grab something, but please refrain from doing this," he said. "Don't let opportunistic criminals prevail."

The West District of Madison had the most car thefts in January with 22 vehicles stolen, followed by the East District with 13, the North District with eight, the Midtown District with seven, the South District with six and  the Central District with two.

Seven of the 58 auto thefts were reportedly made during the commission of a residential burglary.

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Bill Novak is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.