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Pro car burglars target BMWs in West L.A.

November 18, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Burglars are targeting BMWs in the Westside and Mid-Wilshire areas of Los Angeles.Police say one or more burglars have already hit more than 50 vehicles since April. They are only taking the air bags and high-end headlights, and leaving other valuables behind, including cell phones and laptop computers.

BMW 3 Series and 5 Series models are being targeted.

"What's unique is that they're not targeting other high-end cars like Mercedes or Lexus, strictly late-model BMWs," said LAPD Lt. Bryan Wong.

Investigators believe the burglars have intensive knowledge of the BMW operating system. In most cases, the car's elaborate alarm system has been disabled during the crime.

Police have no suspects, and they aren't sure what the motive is behind the thefts.

"We've had a lot of theories. We don't know if they're being used to replace parts in BMWs that were used in collisions, we don't know if they are being shipped out, sold on the black market. All those theories have been passed around," said Wong.

Experts say the suspects could get hundreds of dollars for the air bags, which cost customers about $1,500 to replace.

"It's a tragedy in and of itself, but I know the airbags are very expensive, they cost in and of themselves around $1,500. And that's obviously the motive as to why they're breaking into the cars," said BMW owner Vince Winters.

Police are advising BMW owners to park their cars only in closed parking structures or garages and to be on the lookout.

If you see anything suspicious, you're asked to call the LAPD at 1-877-LAPD-24-7.


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