Protecting one’s car is a full time job for car owners since one never knows when car thieves will strike. Although new car protection technology has been developed, the number of stolen cars still increases.
While high-end vehicles have been known to attract the attention of car thieves, a new trend in car stealing has appeared. It has been reported that auto thieves will not only go for expensive cars but they do also pick any other car as well. The reason for this is that they are selling scrap metal. This means that any car would do for car thieves since they only need the metals used in cars. In Columbus, Georgia, Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said that the price of scrap metal has increased thus thieves are capitalizing on it.
While it has been reported that the most stolen vehicles are those known to be expensive like the Cadillac Escalade and the BMW M Roadster, the new trend puts low-end cars at risk too. Auto parts such as the hood, rims, side mirrors and other components can be easily detached by expert car thieves. This are then sold at scrap metal shops. Car thieves also take the whole car and not only parts of it if given the chance. That is why car owners are being warned to protect their vehicles. The price that these scrap metal fetch in the market had grown this year. “A lot of these vehicles that would not bring much money at all in the scrap market are now bringing prices two, three and four times than they did in previous years,” says Jones.
Even those who are in the scrap metal business are now being aware of the new trend in car stealing. Ronnie Wadkins, the owner of the Car Crushing and Recycling of Alabama, has this to say: “Well, with the market like it is, people stealing radios, the wheels off of cars, the converters off of them, there’s a lot of extra money that hasn’t been out there that’s out there now.” Wadkins said that an average car would fetch a price of $150 to $200. That estimate is expected to increase depending on the demand in the market. “So, it’s making it more attractive for people to steal cars,” added Wadkins.
Sheriff Jones said that thieves can steal a car or a part of it in a short span of time. That is why he suggests that car owners should take care of their vehicles since vehicle theft not only affects them but others as well. He said that common sense is a good thing to start with in preventing car thieves from stealing vehicles. Locking a car’s door and not leaving the keys is a smart way to protect one’s vehicle.
Jones said that most of the cars stolen are crimes of opportunity which means thieves only steal cars if they see a chance that they can do it with as much ease as possible. An open car door and a key in the ignition is an open invitation to car thieves. Jones also suggested that car alarms are good investments since they can deter car thieves. For car thieves, it does not matter how expensive the car is as long as they do not get caught. This means that a visible warning that a vehicle is equipped with a car alarm might discourage car thieves. “Thieves are not going to waste a lot of time,” says Jones. “In many cases, they’re going to move on somewhere where they can find – again – a vehicle that’s more of an opportunity to take based on an unlocked door or a key being left in it or valuables there,” he added.
Jones explained the crime being committed by those who go after scrap metal from cars. “It’s considered a theft in the first degree,” Jones said. “Now, that’s a class B felony that could land you up to 20 years in prison, simply for a few hundred dollars on a scrap vehicle. So I would say, just automatically, it’s not worth it in any shape or form of the imagination.” It has been known that among the auto parts taken by car thieves are the most vulnerable and exposed parts such as a Flowmaster exhaust pipe.