Air bag thieves hit 20 Hondas in Arlington

Car air bag thieves struck again this weekend in Arlington County, Virginia, breaking into at least 20 vehicles.

A woman in the Radnor/Fort Myer Heights neighborhood saw three men attempting to break into a vehicle, Arlington County police said, and her shouts scared them away early Sunday morning.

But when police investigated, they found that about 20 vehicles in the area, all of them Hondas, had their windows shattered and air bags stolen.

The thieves were seen leaving the area in a gray sedan.

People who live in the neighborhood situated near Fort Myer said they have experienced no major crime uptick, but there have been occasional property crimes.

“I will say things that aren’t locked up have been stolen. We’ve had quite a few bikes we’ve left outside stolen,” said Ian, who wished to only be identified by his first name.

Theft of air bags, particularly in Honda model cars, has been a nagging problem across the area, including in Arlington County.

“I think there were maybe five Honda Accords … it was so specific in my 100-car parking lot specifically Honda Accords and their very precious air bags,” said Jack Curry, who added that the air bag was stolen from his Honda Accord last year in the area of Bailey’s Crossroads.

While the Hondas hit early Sunday morning had their windows smashed, Curry said the thieves broke through the lock on his car door.

“My car was locked, they knew how to jimmy open the lock,” Curry said. “So the two repairs I needed was on the lock and then the air bag itself … so there was a lot to repair. My insurance covered it.”

The National Insurance Crime Bureau says thieves resell the air bags online and to illegitimate repair shops for anywhere from $50 to $200 each. The new air bag retails for $1,000.

The bureau says the insurance industry estimates that about 50,000 air bags are stolen each year, for an annual loss of more than $50 million.

Police remind drivers to park in well-lit areas.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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