Miami Police caution drivers about string of airbag thefts

MIAMI (WSVN) - Police went door-to-door in a Miami neighborhood to advise residents about a string of airbag thefts in what they are describing as a growing national trend.

7News cameras captured City of Miami Police officers handing out leaflets with information about auto thefts, Tuesday afternoon.

“Airbag thefts have become a national problem, not only in the City of Miami, but in other cities and states as well,” said Miami Police spokesperson Christopher Bess.

Area resident Alina Perez became a victim when, she said, three people pulled up to her home and stole the airbag from her Honda SUV. “I work hard for what I have, and just to have someone come in, who doesn’t care about anybody else’s belongings, it’s very infuriating,” she said.

Police said thieves are predominantly targeting Hondas and Acuras. “The types of vehicles that are being targeted are Japanese-made vehicles, such as Toyotas,” said Bess.

Airbag thefts are a crime trend that is also happening in Broward County. The Broward Sheriff’s Office sent out a warning in November after thieves targeted 70 Hondas.

Replacing airbags is setting back drivers thousands of dollars. “One thousand three hundred and sixty-nine dollars,” said one man as he showed 7News his repair bill.

Police said thieves break in through a car door, take out the airbag and are gone in seconds. They then resell the airbags on the black market.

“These airbags can sell on the black market for approximately $1,000, so these offenders have become extremely advanced,” said Bess.

Officials are advising residents who leave their vehicles outdoors to park in a well-lit area or, if possible, use a porch light to deter thieves. They also cautioned not to leave valuables inside the vehicle and to ensure their vehicles have an alarm.

If you have any information on these airbag thefts, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

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