More than 70 vehicles have been targeted for their air bags in the month of November throughout various cities in Broward County.
Investigators believe thieves are selling the air bags to unscrupulous body shops in the black market, pocketing hundreds of dollars for each. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the body shops in turn place fraudulent claims to insurance companies for the cost of new air bags.
So far this month, there have been 13 vehicles burglarized in Tamarac, nine in Weston and around 50 more in Deerfield Beach. The latest car burglary spree took place Monday, Nov. 13, at the Crystal Lake apartments in Deerfield Beach, where approximately 20 vehicles were broken into and the air bags stolen.
The thieves are targeting large apartment complexes where they can burglarize a large number of vehicles in a short period of time. They are keying in on Honda Civics and Accords as well as various Acura models. The suspects tend to break the windows or pry the door locks in order to gain access. In some cases, they have also stolen the rims and wheels from certain cars.
Detectives say awareness is key in preventing these types of crimes. Try to park your vehicle in a well-lit area and as close to foot traffic as possible. Contact your apartment complex or neighborhood management company to make sure they're aware of this crime trend so they can remain vigilant, and share it with your neighbors. If you spot suspicious activity, contact your local law enforcement agency to report it.
If you've been the victim of a car accident and you are having your air bags replaced, the National Insurance Crime Bureau warns against the installation of black market air bags and has tips about how you can make sure you are not being sold a stolen air bag as a new product through this link.
Anyone with information about these air bag thefts is asked to contact Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS (8477) or online at www.browardcrimestoppers.org. Anonymous tips that lead to an arrest are eligible for a reward of up to $3,000.
THIS REPORT BY: