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Car stolen with Minnesota couple’s two dogs inside

Koda, left, and Willa were in a vehicle that was stolen Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018. Maplewood police are seeking the public's help in locating the dogs and the 2013 Black Fusion. (Courtesy of Angela Strong)

MAPLEWOOD, Minn. -- Maplewood police are seeking the public’s help finding an Australian shepherd and a German shepherd that were in a car stolen Sunday night.

The dog owners went into a Holiday Gas Station in this northwest Twin Cities suburb around 6:20 Sunday, authorities said. They left their car idling and the keys in the ignition to keep the dogs — Koda and Willow — warm.

While the owners were in the gas station, the suspect walked out of the store, noticed the vehicle running, got inside and drove off.

The car is a 2013 black Ford Fusion with Minnesota license plate number 2DG309. The driver’s side rear bumper is damaged from a previous accident, police said.

The suspect arrived in a dark Chrysler 200 with no front license plate. A driver in that vehicle followed the suspect out of the parking lot, according to police.

Leaving an unattended car running is illegal in Maplewood. Last year, the city reported a steep increase in car thefts, many of which were left running and unattended.