Thieves targeting cars for airbags

October 22, 2018 10:28 PM

Thieves are breaking into cars. It's not that novel, right?

Police agencies across the nation say thieves aren't looking for radios or other electronic parts, they're after airbags.

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The international recall on Takata airbags has made them a hot commodity. Thieves are stealing them and selling them outright to dealers or online.

The Rochester Police Department has not seen this trend in our area just yet, neither has New York State Police.

However, it's happening in states all around New York, and you too could end up with a stolen airbag. And for some people waiting for airbag repairs, the wait can be a long one.

It can sometimes take months.

Our NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Florida, WPTV, reported on a rash of vandalized cars with airbags ripped from the steering wheel.

Florida resident Michelle Hurley says she thought someone had tried to steal her car. "After the panic, I realized my locks had been torn off my car and they had stolen my airbag," said Hurley.

It's a problem from coast to coast. 

Paul Marone who owns East Avenue Auto says he hasn't had to repair a car with this damage, but he's more than familiar with the problem. 

"Just seems the airbags are so expensive and so hard to get," Marone said. "A lot them have a backlog because of the the Takata airbags recall, you can't even get the new one for the car."

It's affected most automobile brands sold in America. 

It's illegal to sell or buy used airbags in New York so when people like Marone have to repair any part on a car that includes an airbag, he can't get it used. It has to be new.

Replacing airbags in a car can cost up to $3,000. 

While he can't install a used one, it doesn't stop a customer from getting a used airbag and then asking him to install it. But that airbag could turn out to be stolen. 

"I guess in a way we would put them in for a customer that we knew, who was willing to sign a statement saying they're going to be responsible for the airbag whatever goes on with it," Marone added. 


Lynette Adams

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