The Philadelphia Police Department recently warned car owners about the increase of vehicle thefts in and near the city, reports CBS Philadelphia’s Kristen Johanson.
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Philadelphia police spokesman Captain Sekou Kinebrew says heading up your car after the recent snowstorm or running into a convenience store to get some office are the ideal times for a car thief to take their vehicle.
“Approximately 33 percent, or a third of the stolen autos involved incidents where the key was left in the ignition,” Kinebrew told KYW Newsradio.
The police department stated it has seen an increased in thefts and according to Kinebrew, a majority to these stolen cars wind up undamaged and left in another location.
“A lot of these are that people are leaving their keys in the ignition, the guy jumps in it, and then just joy rides in it and then dumps it somewhere else,” he said.
The other reason thieves will steal a car is to use it for another crime, according to Kinebrew.
“Cause now you are in someone else’s car and you commit a robbery or burglary or something like that,” he said. “The car that would be attached to the crime is not [the criminal], it’s the person that owns the car.”
According to a recent Fox 29 report, thieves in the city are not only swiping cars, but parts, too. Some of the parts include high end, factor installed rims and tires that could be worth thousands of dollars.
“The value of the thefts is probably about $4,000 to get all of your tires and rims replaced and it costs the consumer quite a bit of money,” Major Crimes Unit Captain Roland Lee told Fox 29.
According to the report, thieves have targeted the streets of Roxborough, Manayunk and Germantown recently. A Camaro, Lexus and several newer model Honda Accords have had their rims and wheels taken. The thieves look for cars that don’t have wheel locks, jack up the vehicle, put them on cinderblocks or milk crates and removes the rims and wheels—usually all four of them. The wheel-less car is left on the street.
“Definitely, they are selling them on the street—probably sell them online or at your local tire shop, but mostly online,” Lee said.
The city’s Major Crimes Auto Squad is staying on these thieves’ trail, according to Fox 29. They tend to move in packs of two or three at a time and go after vehicles in less populated arreas like the 200 blocl of Fountain Street, the 200 block of Hermit and the 4300 block of Tower street. The 14th Police District in Germantown has also been hit—recently between 14 and 18 times.
To combat this police recommend car owners install wheel locks if they don’t come factor installed and try to park it in well-lit, well traveled areas.
Meanwhile, Kinebrew said the police department is investigating crime rings and chop shops, but also encouraged people to lock their car doors and never leave their keys in the ignition.
“We definitely want to raise the awareness so that people can keep their cars safe and the content of their cars,” he added.
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