CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Police in North Carolina have come up with a hot plan to curb a spike in local car thefts.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department announced at a news conference Wednesday that drivers visiting a designated convenience store next Tuesday will get a free coffee — or soda — if they show their car keys to officers there.

CMPD Capt. Jonathan Thomas said part of the issue is people leaving cars running to warm up, but he said too many people keep an extra key inside their cars for convenience.

Officials say more than 230 cars have been stolen in Charlotte in 2018, a 31 percent increase over the total at the same time last year. Thomas says 37 percent of those thefts involved keys being left inside the car.

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