Car burglars targeting air bags in Volusia, Osceola, deputies say

Six air bag thefts reported across two counties

By Loren Korn - Reporter

DEBARY, Fla. - A couple's Honda Accord that was burglarized at a DeBary church Saturday afternoon was targeted for its air bag, and it wasn't the only car, officials with the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said.

Two other cars in the St. Anne's Catholic Church parking lot were also burglarized for their air bags. Deputies said the crooks targeted three Hondas and ripped out the air bags one by one.

Mechanics told News 6 that the thieves pick Hondas because the air bags are easy to remove. Thieves only need a power tool and 60 seconds to do the job. They also said Honda air bags are even easier to sell.

"In my experience, they could be going to chop shops, to unscrupulous auto dealers, who would put those bags in there," Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said. "But, there is a market for them, overseas as well."

Chitwood said the last time the area saw a spike in air bag thefts was seven years ago.

"The last time we had this spurt, it was believed, statewide we were getting hit, that they were getting shipped out of South Florida," Chitwood said.

If insurance does not cover the cost of a new air bag, officials said it could be up to $1,000 to replace.

"You have bottom-feeders in life. All they do is go out and target hardworking people and that's how they make their money," Chitwood said.

Chitwood said the theft the airbags in Osceola and Volusia counties happened on the same day. Both departments are now working together to identify the suspects.

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