Airbags stolen from cars in Arlington
Four drivers in Arlington had their cars broken into and their airbags cut out.
All of the drivers owned a Honda, and their cars were parked within 50 feet of each other.
Each airbags can sell on the underground market for as much as $500 each. As a result, each airbag stolen could result in a Grand Larceny charge. The punishment in Virginia for Grand Larceny can be from 1 day in jail to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $2500.00. Additionally the offenders, if caught, may be charged with vehicle tampering and destruction of property for each vehicle that was damaged.
Arlington County police say whoever is behind the crime chose the block specifically. Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck says, “This location is pretty much ideal for a car break-in.” Sternbeck believes the cars were targeted because there are no homes in the area, and it’s poorly lit.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau estimates 60,000 of them are ripped out of cars annually, costing insurance companies about $50 million.
AAA says the Honda Civic and Acura Integra have long been popular targets for airbag thefts.
According to AAA, the stolen airbags are being sold to dishonest collision repair shops, who install the airbags into damaged cars and claim that the bags are new, committing insurance fraud. A dishonest repair shop can trick you into thinking you’re getting a new airbag installed when, in fact, it’s stolen.
Insurance companies are now working with automakers and airbag suppliers to hopefully find a solution to the growing problem.