Valley mechanic warns of thieves targeting airbags - CBS 5 - KPHO

Valley mechanic warns of thieves targeting airbags

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CHANDLER, AZ (CBS5) -

Airbags are some of your car's most important safety features, but airbags can also mean big money on the black market.

"On the black market these guys can get $50-$100 in minutes with the right black market leads out there so it's unfortunate," said Frank Leutz, the owner of Desert Car Care Center in Chandler. 

Recently, Leutz said a customer brought in a vehicle that was burglarized.

"(My husband) saw someone had been in it. The door was open. They had gone through all of our stuff," said Tracy Witt, who owned the van that was burglarized.

Witt said it appeared the thieves had tried to steal the car since the ignition column had been damaged, but they moved onto the passenger side airbag instead.

"I guess they were just trying to steal it," she said.

Leutz said his mechanics first realized the problem after fixing the ignition. When the car restarted, the airbag light was on.

"We saw the wiring from the passenger side air bag just sitting there laying and exposed," he explained.

Phoenix Police say airbag theft is not that common, but it can be extremely dangerous both for those trying to steal and airbag, and those who may be riding in a damaged car.

"It could certainly deploy and it could certainly injure you," said Officer James Holmes.

Leutz says if your car is involved in an attempted theft and your airbag light comes on, bring it in to your mechanic immediately.

"These guys will come around and look for (airbags) that are quick and easy to steal," he said.

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