A thief stole a car left running with the driver's dog inside from an Eden Prairie gas station in the midst of bone-chilling weather, authorities said Tuesday.
The car and the canine were stolen about 7 p.m. Monday from the Holiday station in the 8000 block of Flying Cloud Drive in the heart of the suburb's retail district, police said.
Police are asking the public to be on the lookout for a tan 2002 Toyota Camry with Minnesota license plate 593UND.
Inside the vehicle was "Bevis," a Weimaraner sporting blue and red bandannas at the time.
"If you see the vehicle or dog, please call 911 immediately," a statement from police read.
This is at least the third instance in recent weeks in the Twin Cities that drivers have left their vehicles running with a dog inside only to have it stolen and their pet along for the ride.
On Feb. 2 in St. Paul, a car with Texas plates was stolen from outside the Poke House & Tea Bar in the 1500 block of Randolph Avenue. On Feb. 5, a woman brought the Havanese or Lhasa apso named "Miracle" to the owner's home and left, police said.
On Jan. 23 in Bloomington, an SUV was stolen from the parking lot of a hotel near the Mall of America with a blue merle border collie inside. The dog was located the next day in Brooklyn Park and turned in to police.
In both of the earlier incidents, police have yet to announce any arrests or say whether the vehicles were recovered.
"Most of the vehicles stolen with dogs — or kids inside — are running and otherwise unattended," said St. Paul police spokesman Steve Linders. "We ask people not to leave their vehicles running and unattended."
Linders added that police also discourage people from leaving children or animals in vehicles, "even for short periods of time."
While having a vehicle run while unattended is against city ordinance, Linders said, "we don't often cite people for it because they've already been victimized once their car, truck or SUV has been stolen. Our officers do, however, educate drivers about the risks."
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482