Rims of this popular car brand being targeted by thieves
Honda Accord most stolen car in country
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – In just seven minutes, two masked thieves in a Coral Gables neighborhood stepped out of a Nissan SUV and took the wheels and rims off a parked Honda Accord.
The video of the Dec. 23 theft was released by Coral Gables police, who said that in recent months, these types of incidents are becoming common.
In fact, a number of residents in Miami and Coral Gables have woken up in recent months to find their cars without wheels.
Thieves have targeted 19-inch factory rims from the Honda Accord sport model.
It's a car that has often been targeted by parts thieves in recent years, but recently Miami police said they've seen a spike in thefts, sometimes as often as one a day.
"The Hondas are a car that the young kids (drive). They're sought after highly for the little race cars," James Land of Hallandale Complete Auto said. "So that's probably why it's such an epidemic right now."
The latest numbers from the National Insurance Crime Bureau show the Honda Accord is the most stolen car in the U.S., making the rims even more of a commodity.
Auto experts have said to help prevent thefts, drivers can install a sensitive vehicle alarm and turn wheels when parking the car, which makes them harder to remove.
A woman named Maidalynn, who didn't want to give her last name due to safety concerns, said that between her and her brother's car, they have been hit three times since June.
The damage was around $12,000, which cost her a deductible and a huge headache.
MJ Rodriguez said thieves stole the rims off her new Accord just weeks after she bought the vehicle. She's now out $1,000 for her deductible.
"Waking up in the morning to go to work and take my son to school, I come out to a car left with no wheels," Rodriguez said.
Some thefts have ended in violence.
On Jan.10, Miami police got a call about a shooting after thieves tried to take the rims off a vehicle on Southwest 25th Terrace.
"They left, came back, then they tried to get in the house," said Gustavo Montes, whose son, daughter-in-law and 2-year-old granddaughter were inside their home during the incident.
Police said Montes' son opened fire with an assault rifle, hitting one of the suspected thieves, 32-year-old Derrick Mitchell. Bullets also hit several parked cars, leaving holes and broken glass. Officers arrested Mitchell in connection with the theft.
"I would have done the same thing," Montes said. "You protect your family, that comes first."
James Land said with the right tools, thieves can even get around wheel locks in just minutes.
"Maybe if the factories start putting serial numbers on the rims when they leave the factory to match the car , (it) may help a little bit," Land added.
Scared and frustrated, Maidalynn's family decided to invest in security cameras.
"I just fear that I'm going to wake up and it's going to happen again," she said.
Police said because there are no serial numbers associated with rims, there is no easy way to track them.
To protect car rims experts recommend parking in well-lit areas, installing car alarm systems and investing in locking lug nuts, which may slow down thieves.
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