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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Honda Fits and Civics targeted by car wheel thieves

The wheels were stolen from this Fit parked on Stuart Street in Annandale a few weeks ago.
The Honda Fit is a great little car with terrific gas mileage—but there’s a downside to owning one, as people in the Annandale/Mason area are finding out. They are being targeted by thieves who are stealing the wheels and tires and using them for racing cars.

There were four thefts in the past couple of weeks, said Pfc. Brendan Murphy, crime prevention officer in the Mason Police District, although he doesn’t have statistics on the total number of cars hit. The thefts started in April, continued through May, stopped for a while, then started up about two and a half weeks ago, he said. While Fits were targeted most often, there have been similar thefts from Honda Civics and one or two Acuras.

Four tires and wheels were stolen from a Civic parked in front of a house on Howard Street in Broyhill Crest on July 3. To get the wheels off, the thieves put the car on four landscape border stones taken out of a flower bed in the homeowners’ front yard, a neighbor reports.

On July 7, all four tires were stolen and the driver’s side window was smashed on a Civic parked in the driveway of a house at the corner of Murray Lane and Rose Lane in Columbia Pines. A Civic was hit on Oliver Street in Broyhill Crest in mid-May. Cinder blocks were placed under one side of the car, while a jack was left holding up the other side.

There have also been thefts in Sleepy Hollow, Sleepy Hollow Woods, and Ravenwood Park in the Mason District, Murphy says. It’s not just happening in this area; wheel thefts from Fits and Civics have been reported all over the country.

So far, Mason police officers haven’t caught any suspects or recovered any stolen items, although they have done undercover surveillance, he says.

The Honda Fit Sport model is in demand because its 15-inch allow wheels fit low-riding cars customized for street racing. They also fetch high prices on the illegal car parts market.

The thefts usually happen between midnight and 5 a.m., Murphy said. The thieves usually break into the car first to remove the jack so they can get the wheels off. The whole operation only takes a few minutes. 

He advises Honda owners to install motion sensor lights. Car alarms with tilt sensors would be good, too. And if you happen to get up in the middle of the night, check on your car.

5 comments:

  1. Any thought from Mason District Police on doing a few more late night crusing through neighborhoods?

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  2. Buy wheel locks - this is probably the cheapest and most effective thing you can do to prevent this.

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  3. fyi...officers already and routinely come through our neighborhoods late night...thieves have removed lockable lugs along with tires/wheels. Officers have alerted some owners of said cars to be watchful. This is not just a local issue.

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  4. Wheel locks can help. But only if you don't put the key to the wheel locks with the jack and spare tire. The suspects are using the victim's jack to lift the car. When they get the jack out of the car, they find the wheel lock key. Put the key somewhere else in the car.(not the glove compartment)

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  5. No wheel locks, steering locks or car alarm are going to stop the thieves if they have targeted your car.

    Best way to avoid getting into this situation is to get a used car.

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