Recently, the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station warned residents that they’d been seeing an increase in the theft of third-row seats among SUVs in the SCV. During the week of December 18, deputies received three separate reports during the same week regarding the theft and attempted theft of third-row seats from SUVs in the Saugus area. In one of the reports, the rear window of the SUV was smashed and the third-row seat was stolen. The two other reports occurred on the same street, though the thieves’ efforts were thwarted when the third-row seats were secured and locked via cables.
Stealing car parts can be a lucrative enterprise. Doing so often requires less skill and less time than stealing an entire vehicle, and parts can be concealed during transport and present a far less conspicuous target for police, whereas a complete vehicle is much easier to locate once it’s been reported stolen. Individual parts often also possess the benefit of being able to be used in more than one model vehicle, enabling them to be sold to a variety of potential buyers.
The theft of third-row seats is a growing trend nationwide, but they’re not the most frequent car parts taken by thieves. Here is a list of some of the most commonly stolen car parts and what you can do to protect yourself from theft:
GPS systems can be a godsend for those who find themselves in unfamiliar surroundings and their use has exploded among the population as the popularity of ride-hailing apps has increased. The most obvious thing to do to keep your GPS system from being stolen is to hide it from plain view when the car is parked, or to take it out altogether. Those who own GPS devices that attach via suction cup should be warned, though, that hiding the device may not be enough. The suction cups often leave a mark on the windshield that sends a red flag to thieves that a GPS system may be in the car. Even though it isn’t in view, thieves may still break in and attempt to steal it, possibly leaving you with a broken window.
Catalytic converter theft has popped up from time-to-time in the SCV, and it likely won’t be disappearing any time soon. The catalytic converter is located on the bottom of the vehicle and serves the important purpose of helping keep toxic emissions from the car out of the environment. These parts contain small amounts of platinum and rhodium – two precious metals that have increased in value over the years, and can sell for a pretty penny to scrap yards. The cost of replacing a catalytic converter can run anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000, so protecting yours should be a priority.
Those who own lowriders can rejoice, as the most highly-targeted vehicles for catalytic converter theft are those that sit high off the ground like pickup trucks and SUVs. There isn’t much that can be done by a vehicle owner to protect their catalytic converter, though some states are adopting laws that require individuals who sell them for scrap to provide identification including their name and address to deter would-be thieves.
Tires and Rims
Custom rims and tires have been a target for thieves for a long, long time. There’s a huge market for them, and buying them new can be incredibly expensive. Thieves can jack up a car and steal the tires and/or rims within minutes, and it can be done with exceptional stealth. Luckily, there are wheel locks that can be purchased for about $20 which, while not 100 percent fool-proof, will deter most thieves.
Last, but not least, loose items like cell phones, tablets and sunglasses are often stolen from vehicles. Thieves will walk up and down streets at night testing unlocked doors simply to steal whatever may happen to be available in a given car. The best way to protect yourself is to always keep your doors locked, park in well-lit areas, and never leave anything of value within your vehicle in plain sight.