ARLINGTON, Va. — An Arlington County neighborhood is reeling after a recent rash of airbag thefts.
On Tuesday morning, Fairlington residents found their car windows smashed, hoods popped, batteries disconnected and airbags gone.
“It seems like an odd thing to steal, but apparently they’re valuable,” Arlington resident Janis Johnston tells ABC7.
It’s a growing trend. Thieves vandalize cars, steal the valuable airbags, and sell them to crooked auto body shops. Airbags retail for about $1,000 but only cost $50 to $200 on the black market. The dishonest mechanics then bill insurance companies or car owners for the full price.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau says that 50,000 airbags are stolen every year.
“I sometimes forget to lock my door, but now that really isn’t an option for us, we really need to be more vigilant,” said Johnston.
Arlington police say there was no suspect description and the investigation is ongoing.
Fairlington residents are just the latest victims in this growing crime spree. Over the past several months, airbag thefts have been reported in Montgomery, Howard and Harford counties.