In an era where even mundane family cars are shod with 18-inch-plus rims direct from the factory, dealers are prime targets for mass thefts. One Texas Chevy dealer took a big hit on Sunday, when 22 new cars were shorn of their wheels and tires by a gang of thieves.
The joke was that the little Honda was so old and undesirable that it would take a ten dollar bill on the dash and the key in the ignition to attract a thief. With 300K miles on the clock, the little car was old and tired, but my sister Lee and her husband Dave aren’t the kind of people who replace their cars very often. The Chevy Chevette they bought new in 1981 lasted ten long years under their care so the little Civic, purchased used in 1991 from one of my father’s workmates, was on target to last forever. Other cars came and went in the driveways of the other houses up and down the street, but in their driveway the Civic endured, a fixture of solidity and reliability in an ever changing world. And then one day, it was gone. (Read More…)
The owner of a Nissan Leaf was arrested in Georgia last week for stealing 5 cents worth of electricity after he plugged his car into the exterior outlet at a local middle school while his son was playing tennis.
Pickup truck tailgates recovered by the Garland, TX police department.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau says the theft of pickup truck tailgates is soaring in the U.S, aided by the ease of removal and a ready market on the internet. Most of those thefts go unreported because the replacement cost is often less than truck owners’ insurance deductibles. Still, the number of thefts reported to insurance companies have gone from just 3 in 2008 to more than 500 last year. An experienced thief can remove an unlocked tailgate in as little as 10 seconds.
“Those are just insurance claims. We know that number is woefully under-representative. The problem is much, much larger,” said Frank Scafidi, NICB public affairs director. “There’s a huge market, and that feeds the monster.” (Read More…)
An interesting story out of Hawaii, where Dodge Charger rental cars are being targeted by thieves due to the ease of which they can be broken into – and officials are aware of the matter, with little action being taken.
A few months ago, Volkswagen extended its joint venture contract with Chinese partner FAW for another 25 years, with appropriate pomp and circumstance: Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and German Chancellor Angela Merkel witnessed the signature. Now, Volkswagen takes the unusual step of going semi-public with the theft of intellectual property. According to reports in German media, FAW has “systematically and repeatedly” stolen designs of important components such as engines and transmissions. Volkswagen’s hands are tied. (Read More…)
Having spent most of my driving years in car-theft-prone neighborhoods in California and preferring the please-steal-me Honda Civic as my daily driver of choice, I learned many years ago that a secret starter and/or fuel-pump cutoff switch is a must-have. Such kill switches have prevented theft of my past Civics on three occasions that I know about. Last week, the maddeningly hard-to-find kill switch I installed in my 18.2-second quarter-miler 1992 Civic left a Denver Honda thief empty-handed. (Read More…)
We’ve known that the Cadillac Escalade was America’s most-stolen vehicle, but we never asked why. The answer: GM didn’t put steering locks on a number of Escalade and other GMT9000 Ute model years, and shifters on these models are easily pushed out of “Park.” These weaknesses (and their ineffective fixes) allow thieves to push Tahoes, Denalis and Escalades to a safe spot where parts stripping can be done in a matter of minutes. And as the report details, Onstar is rarely effective at stopping quick snatch-and-strip-style thefts, because the damage is typically already done by the time vehicles are reported stolen. Hats off to WXYZ TV for looking past the statistics and finding the truth behind the Escaladae’s stealability. GM is reportedly working on a new steering column replacement for these vehicles.