Stolen airbags prove profitable on online sites

Airbag thefts disturbing trend in South Florida, police

By Ian Margol - Reporter
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CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - Airbag thefts are becoming a disturbing trend in South Florida, authorities say.

Police say thieves are especially targeting Hondas, specifically Civics and CR-Vs.

Police say burglars drill into and pop locks on door handles to get inside vehicles. They then pull out the airbags.

While some people believe thieves need a couple of special tools and have to know what they're doing, police say it's easier than you might think.

Over the last couple of months, police departments from Coral Springs, Dania Beach, Davie and Pembroke Pines, among others, have reported an uptick in car break-ins in which the airbag is ripped out of the steering wheel.

But this isn't just a Broward County issue.

A man in Miami had a dashcam rolling when a crook broke into his car and stole his airbags.

Experts say this is a 2-decade-old trend that’s re-emerging.  David Julien, co-owner of R&D Automotive and Alignment, says these crooks know what they're doing.

"It's very secured on the car. Because of what the airbag does, it comes out at a pressure and a high speed. It’s not something that just popped in and you pop it out," Julien said. 

Why steal an airbag?

Well, experts say they’re easy money on online marketplaces.

In fact, a quick search on a popular buying and selling app shows a brand-new CR-V airbag for only $350 -- a part that would cost more than double that at a Honda dealership.

And while Julien says it takes some skill, nowadays, if someone is motivated enough, it's easier than ever to learn.

"You can go on YouTube and look it up and see if you want to remove an airbag on a Honda CR-V, 2014 -- there's going to be a ton of videos showing you how to do it," Julien said. 

It's nearly impossible to protect yourself, but the best advice police can give is to park in well-lit areas and, if possible, near surveillance cameras.

Experts say it can cost upward of $1,500 to replace an airbag when calculating both parts and labor.


 

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