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Thieves target discontinued SUV car seats

August 26, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Thieves are making life miserable for some owners of big SUVs. They're stealing the third row seats out of the vehicles because there's a hot market for them.

Kelly Mancini's car alarm did nothing to prevent her Chevy Tahoe from being broken into. On Tuesday, thieves got in and out without breaking a window or prying open a door.

"Either a key fob, possibly a master key that someone maybe took from the dealership. I don't know," said Mancini.

What they took from Mancini's Tahoe were the third row seats. What's more frustrating for the working mom was this wasn't the first time - it happened before in May.

"I just put the new refurbished seats in my car about a month ago," said Mancini. "I hadn't even used the new seats and they were already taken again from the car."

Torrie Lucas had her third row seats stolen on the same day in the same parking structure in Newport Beach where the two women work.

They both had to replace their seats at an average cost of $1,500.

"I just keep them in the garage now which is such an inconvenience," said Lucas. "Because I am afraid if I do have people in the back and leave them here, or at the mall, or anywhere else they are going to get taken again."

Because the seats are no longer manufactured they've become a hot commodity on the black market. GMC no longer makes the third row seats, but several were found for sale on Craigslist ranging from Tahoes, Yukons and Escalades.

However, there is no way to verify where they came from and that is the problem.

"Either from a wrecked car or they're stolen," said Lucas.

"It's just frustrating because there is no VIN numbers," said Mancini. "There is no way for them to track it. I don't see what the police can do at this point."

Mancini says the parking structure doesn't have security cameras, making it difficult for police to catch the thieves.

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