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Old 11-17-2009, 07:58 PM   #1
Prolific 'BMW bandits' steal parts from more than 50 luxury cars on the Westside
 
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LA Bimmer owners watch your babies at night. It says they "have a very unique method for entering the vehicles", but don't say what.

Professional burglars working in Westside and Mid-Wilshire areas have targeted more than 50 BMWs in recent months, making away with expensive auto parts but leaving behind cellphones and laptop computers.

Air bags that cost thousands of dollars to replace and high-end headlights are being carefully removed from BMW 3 and 5 series vehicles by the burglars, according to Los Angeles Police Department. The thefts have occurred in the LAPD's West L.A. and Wilshire divisions.

"We have roughly close to 40 of these crimes in Wilshire and another 14 in West L.A.," said Los Angeles police Det. Mike Smith, an expert on auto burglaries. "We believe this thief or thieves are getting into these vehicles in record time."

The air bag has replaced the radio, wheel rims and other fittings as auto burglars' favorite item to steal. They are portable, relatively easy to steal and a hot item on the black market. More than 10% of all automobile thefts involve the theft of the air bags, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit research group funded by insurance companies.

"They leave behind valuable stuff that is sitting in the car," Smith said.

The BMW bandits, he said, "have a very unique method for entering the vehicles" and because of their speed have yet to spotted by a passerby, he said. "BMW arenít easy cars to get into."

Smith said detectives first learned of the thefts in April and quickly began tracking similar crimes.

The black market for the prominent safety devices has soared in recent years, with criminals getting hundred of dollars for an item that can cost a customer up to $2,500 for a pair. The National Insurance Crime Bureau estimates at least 50,000 air bags are stolen annually.

Smith said the persons involved are skilled and know how to access the air bags in minutes without damaging them. The crimes occur at night but the pattern has been mostly random. Many of the crimes did, however, occur in the area bound by Waring Avenue to the north, La Cienega Boulevard to the west, Hayworth Avenue to the east and 6th Street to the south.

Smith said anyone with information about the suspect or suspects behind the thefts can contact the Wilshire station at (213) 473-0476.

-- Richard Winton

http://www.internetusers.com/iu_la_times.asp

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Old 11-17-2009, 09:33 PM
cali311soca cali311soca is offline
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How the hell do they break into the car without setting off the alarm? Maybe some the people whose cars are getting broken into are related to the theft ring as well.
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:23 PM
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It didn't say the alarm didn't go off, just said they were F'ing fast. Then said they weren't "easy cars to get into", so that rules out a brick. That's easy.

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Old 11-17-2009, 11:20 PM
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I've heard they're drilling holes right below the key hole and there is a lock trigger that you pull and it opens up the car like you have the owners key. and it doesn't set off the alarm by doing so because the car thinks that it's the owner using their key.
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Old 11-18-2009, 10:14 AM
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Old 11-18-2009, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexanderlt View Post
I've heard they're drilling holes right below the key hole and there is a lock trigger that you pull and it opens up the car like you have the owners key. and it doesn't set off the alarm by doing so because the car thinks that it's the owner using their key.
There is a setting the dealer can code so the alarm does not disarm when you unlock the doors by turning the key. In this situation, the only way the alarm gets disarmed is if you press the disarm button on the key. This would prevent the situation described by Alexander (drilling holes or just punching the lock with a screw driver). The default setting on BMWs is to automatically disarm the alarm if the door is unlocked via key turn.
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Old 11-18-2009, 11:44 PM
neville310 neville310 is offline
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Frightening; Catalytic Convertors now air bags and xenon lights

Are there any defensive measures an owner could take?

KTLA: Crooks Breaking into BMW's All Across Town
http://www.ktla.com/videobeta/watch/...d891&src=front

Pro car burglars target BMWs in West L.A.
http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?se...rticle-7126069

Last edited by neville310; 11-18-2009 at 11:54 PM.
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Old 11-22-2009, 11:54 AM
steveo90290 steveo90290 is offline
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Alarm doesn't come stock on 3 series if I recall correctly. They must be fast if they can do it in the open.
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Old 11-22-2009, 03:50 PM
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Hans Delbruck Hans Delbruck is offline
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This thread from the ED forum might provide some clues as to how they're breaking in....

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=393113
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