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Thieves Targeting Car Airbags In East Sacramento

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EAST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A spike in car burglaries in East Sacramento is putting drivers in danger, as thieves are stealing airbags.

Sacramento Police say in 10 days beginning on June 16, 12 cars were broken into with thieves taking the airbags.

Service manager Sara Savio is quoting more drivers than usual on airbag prices. Police issued the alert to East Sacramento residents about a big jump in car break-ins with thieves stealing the safety devices straight from behind the steering wheel.

“I’ve seen them on sale on eBay and Craigslist and when you see them they’re $50 or $60 as opposed to the $1,000-plus cost,” she said.

She believes the current black market for the bags is huge.

“My suspicion would be this would happen in more of a chop-shop situation where they are taking cars that have been totalled and putting them back together and selling them,” Savio said.

And that worries her as thieves often cover their trail.

“”They can shove material in there to make it look as though there is an airbag when there’s not,” she said.

That leaves car owners at great risk.

“You may not know that until you get into a crash and your airbag does not deploy,” she said.

East Sacramento homeowner Tommy Quinn isn’t surprised at the burglaries, and thinks that could have been the motives for a recent early-morning incident. Quinn confronted a man peering in a vehicle.

“I said, ‘What are you doing?’ He said, ‘I’m having a bad day. I left my keys in the car.’

“I said, ‘That’s interesting. That’s my friend’s car.’”

The man took off.

Savio recommends anyone buying an airbag get proof that it came from a dealership.

One way to check if your airbag has been stolen is simply to honk the horn. If the horn doesn’t work, the airbag may be missing.

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