Philadelphia police warn of thieves targeting cars for parts

A warning from Philadelphia police about how and where you park your cars. They say thieves are stealing parts of cars worth thousands.

You might call it the Philly version of 'Gone in 60 Seconds', but these thieves aren't taking cars, they're taking high end, factory installed rims and tires--worth thousands of dollars.'

"The value of the thefts probably about $4,000 to get all your tires and rims replaced it costs the consumer quite a bit of money," Major Crimes Unit Captain Roland Lee said.

The thieves have been working the streets of Roxborough, Manayunk and Germantown lately. They've taken rims and wheels from a Camaro, a Lexus and several newer model Honda Accords. They look for cars without wheel locks, jack the cars up, put them cinder blocks or milk crates and pull the rims and wheels off--usually all four. They leave the vandalized cars just sitting in the street.

"Definitely, they're selling them on the street--probably sell them online or at your local tire shop, but mostly online," Lee said.

Philadelphia's Major Crimes Auto Squad is hot on the trail of these thieves. They usually travel in packs of two or three guys at a time. They target cars parked in less traveled areas like the 200 block of Fountain Street, the 200 block of Hermit and 4300 block of Tower Street. They've also struck all over the 14th Police District in Germantown. Recently, they've hit between 14 and 18 times.

Police say car owners should install wheel locks if they don't come factory installed and try to park in well lit, well traveled areas.

"Listen up to what's going on late at night time, particularly after midnight. If you see something that looks suspicious, call 9-1-1 and police will come and investigate," Captain Lee said.