Parking may be disturbing underneath the very best of circumstances, nevertheless it’s made even worse while you’re in a rush and may’t discover any spots—or in the event you’ve by no means been that adept at parallel parking. As soon as you have secured a spot, nonetheless, it’s best to be capable of breathe simple. And that may’t occur if you realize your automobile may be focused by criminals. Police have issued a brand new warning a few rise in a selected sort of theft, the place perpetrators want to snatch one factor particularly out of your automobile—and it is not one thing you’d ever suppose to guard. Learn on to search out out what thieves are actually after, and what police say you should do earlier than leaving your automobile.
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If you have not fallen sufferer to a rip-off, take into account your self fortunate. Criminals will attempt to steal from you any means they will, and vehicles are a typical goal. On Aug. 1, police in Fairfax Metropolis, Virginia, issued a warning about pretend parking tickets. In accordance with a tweet from the Fairfax Metropolis Police Division (FCPD), the pretend tickets are positioned on the windshields of unsuspecting drivers—they usually’re really fairly convincing. In a photograph taken by the FCPD, the fraudulent ticket comprises the Fairfax Metropolis seal and related authorized jargon.
However no less than the scammers depart your automobile in place. Extra troublingly, police throughout the nation have issued warnings a few rise in automobile thefts, notably for newer Kia and Hyundai fashions. The surge has been blamed on a development circulating on TikTok, which demonstrates a easy methodology for stealing these autos with a USB cable. Known as the “Kia Problem,” the development started in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has since unfold to a number of states, together with Virginia, Florida, Kentucky, Texas, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Minnesota.
Now, thieves have discovered that they will steal considered one of your automobile’s key security options as a substitute, and nonetheless flip a revenue.
Your automobile is not secure with out its airbags, which offer cushioning for you and your passengers within the occasion of a crash. The truth is, federal laws requires “all vehicles and lightweight vehicles” within the U.S. to return outfitted with airbags on each side of the entrance seats. As such an important security function, they’ve now develop into coveted by criminals, the Phillipsburg Police Division in New Jersey warns.
“The police division is investigating a number of automobile burglaries involving the theft of driver’s facet airbags,” an Aug. 11 Fb submit from the police division reads. In accordance with police, the thieves break into autos, lower open steering wheels, and take away the airbags, particularly in “newer mannequin Honda autos.”
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There was an uptick in airbag theft in a number of states, since lingering shortages tied again to the COVID-19 pandemic have put airbags in excessive demand, TapInto Phillipsburg reported. Because of shortage, these airbags will also be resold for a reasonably penny.
Airbags are simple to steal and conceal, in line with the Nationwide Insurance coverage Crime Bureau (NICB). Thieves resell the stolen airbags on the black market or on web web sites. “Unscrupulous collision restore retailers” buy the stolen airbags for between $50 to $200 every—which is cheaper than the $1,000 price ticket at a dealership—to be able to flip a revenue, the NICB states.
“These dishonest operators will then cost the automobile proprietor or their insurer the total worth for the substitute, thus committing insurance coverage fraud,” the NICB states, including that roughly 50,000 airbags are stolen every year, amounting to $50 million in losses for each automobile house owners and insurance coverage firms.
Police departments throughout the nation have issued warnings about airbag theft. Authorities in Arlington, Virginia, investigated airbag theft from Honda Civics in Might, CBS-affiliate WUSA9 reported, and extra not too long ago, a sequence of airbag thefts have been reported in Fairfax and Loudoun counties exterior of Washington, D.C. A police division within the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania additionally reported thefts this month, in line with The Morning Name.
Fortunately, there are steps you’ll be able to take to maintain your self secure, and Phillipsburg police suggest that you just make certain your automobile is “safe” earlier than you permit it parked wherever. The Montgomery County Maryland Police Departments additional recommends parking your automobile in a well-lit space, and notes that it’s best to by no means depart your automobile earlier than ensuring your doorways are locked, eradicating valuables, understanding that your automobile alarm works, and putting in a steering wheel locking machine.
When you see suspicious exercise in your space, police ask that you just report it to native authorities.