Residents Frustrated By String of Airbag Thefts in Southwest Miami-Dade | NBC 6 South Florida

Residents Frustrated By String of Airbag Thefts in Southwest Miami-Dade



    (Published Friday, July 14, 2017)

    For the second time in less than two months, neighbors in a Southwest Miami-Dade neighborhood have been targeted by thieves who have swept through parking lots stealing airbags from vehicles.

    The latest rash of airbag thefts happened early in the morning on July 6 at an apartment complex near Tropical Park. NBC6 obtained exclusive surveillance video that shows a man breaking into three Honda Civics and a Toyota truck just after 2 a.m.

    Frank Quilles said airbags from his wife's and daughter's vehicles were stolen. "Very, very upset. I want to catch them," said Quilles. "I feel I can do nothing [to] protect my wife, my daughter, you know? I can't do nothing, I got my hands tied."

    The thief popped the driver's door locks on each of the vehicles, stealing airbags from 4 cars in less than 20 minutes, according to an incident report.

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    Quiles and another neighbor said this was the second time in less than two months that they've been ripped off for their airbags; the first robbery happened back on May 18. That same day, air bags were stolen from nearly a dozens cars at three apartments, less than 10 minutes away on Southwest 23rd street.

    Three people were captured on surveillance breaking into cars there. Detectives were trying to identity the airbag thieves. It's not clear if the May and July thefts are connected.

    The National Insurance Crime Bureau said air bag theft and fraud are growing crime trends.

    A new airbag from a car dealer costs around $1,000, according to the NICB, but can purchased for $50-$200 on the streets.

    "Because of the portability, airbags can be easily removed and installed as 'new' by unscrupulous collision repair shops," said the NICB in a statement on airbag theft and fraud posted online. "These dishonest operators will then charge the vehicle owner or the insurer the full price for the replacement, thus committing insurance fraud."

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