ALEXANDRIA, Va. (DC News Now) — Thieves have targeted more than just wheels from automobiles around the DMV. They also go after airbags.
Alexandria is among the communities that have seen a recent uptick in the number of thefts.
“Last week we had about 10 reported, air bag thefts in our city,” said Marcel Bassett, public information officer for the Alexandria Police Department. “That’s a lot higher than we normally get reported a month. We average about eight a month.”
The National Insurance Crime Bureau estimates roughly 50,000 airbags are stolen each year, resulting in an annual loss of more than $50 million to owners, and insurance companies.
Hondas are the most common target of thieves, who according to Bassett, can remove the air bags in as little as 30 seconds.
“If they know what they’re doing, they’re just getting in there and popping it out,” Bassett said.
Alexandria Police said there are things you can do to protect your car — park in a well-lit area, lock your car, and consider getting a theft prevention system, such as a steering wheel locking device.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau said a new airbag, which retails for approximately $1,000 from a car dealer, costs between $50 – $200 on the black market.