Rash Of Air Bag Thefts From QCA Car Dealerships - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Rash Of Air Bag Thefts From QCA Car Dealerships

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Local car dealerships in the Quad Cities are dealing with a recent rash of air bag thefts. At least six in our area have been hit, with thieves stealing air bags from new cars parked on the lot barely leaving a trace. 

The car dealerships reporting thefts so far are: Mills Chevrolet in Moline, Green Chevrolet Chrysler in East Moline, Eriksen Chevrolet Buick in Milan, Reynolds Ford in East Moline, Key Auto Mall in Moline, and Linquist Ford in Bettendorf.    

All in all, about 30 cars had air bags stolen, these thefts happening last spring.  

But over the weekend, Linquist Ford was hit again, with eight cars having air bags stolen, along with another dealership in Cedar Rapids.  

It's unknown if all these are connected, but police say it's a strong possibility.  

Each air bag is replaced in the cars before they're sold, but at a cost. Police estimate each one costs about $750 -- but it adds up to several thousand for each dealership.  

Most of the thefts have been happening over the weekend, during the dealerships' off hours. Thieves have been breaking into locked cars popping open the steering wheel or dashboard and taking air bags.    

Police believe it's a team of professionals because, besides the missing air bags, there's barely a scratch any of the cars.

 "They were all discovered unlocked however there was no signs of forced entry which tells us they've got some type of tool or apparatus to be able to get into these," Capt. Keith Kimball of the Bettendorf Police Department says, "Then once inside of them, in order to remove the drivers' side air bag you need special tools and equipment." 

"They definitely have to have the knowledge and skill to do this," Kimball says, "It's very lucrative, the air bags, if they're properly removed can be re-installed with a value of about $750 for a chop shop in the bigger cities, it might go undetected to replace them in." 

Police also believe whoever is doing this is from out of town, possibly a big city coming out to smaller communities to make money, because all the dealerships affected seem to be right off the highway or a major road.  

If you can help police solve these crimes, contact the Quad Cities Crime Stoppers. A reward could be offered for any information.