View Full Version : What parts of a car are the most valuable to steal?

11-13-2006, 05:00 AM
In my ms, car thieves are stripping the lightest parts of luxury cars and smuggling them out of the country. What parts would they steal? Tires are too heavy.

Air Bags for sure. Computer units too. What else? Catylitic converters? Stereo systems? What is the smallest and most valuable?

11-13-2006, 06:10 AM
I would guess air bags or anything that is sold as an accessory to a vehicle like navigation systems, mobile tv,etc. Also, I've heard that thieves will target older models of vehicles because individual parts of older models are harder to come by and sell for more money.

11-13-2006, 06:20 AM
What about the rims. . .like spinners, etc.

11-13-2006, 06:27 AM
Don't high end cars have GPS?

On the one hand, this is for locating the stolen car, so in theory you only have a very limited amount of time before it's looked for and found. But the flipside is that assuming you could kill the signal, would the GPS unit be of value?

Did I just muddy the waters?

11-13-2006, 07:00 AM
Nissan Maximas for 2003 had HID headlights that were insanely easy to steal, and worth a few thousand.

Stereos are worth selling.

Bumpers are one of the most commonly replaced parts, and will run a couple grand to replace.

Engine components are not worth the effort to steal - too much time to get out. A full engine from a sports car may fetch a nice price.

If the theives have enough time, they strip the whole thing and the parts become available through shady repair/parts shops.

If the car is a true exotic, it would be worth more to keep intact - parts are only worthwhile when they can be moved easily. That's the reason Honda Civic and Toyota Camry are the most commonly stolen - they are easy to get, and the parts can be unloaded very quickly.

11-13-2006, 07:24 AM
Good points, all. I like the gps/tv systems. I need the things stolen to be small because what is stolen and what is left behind makes a riddle for the detectives.

11-13-2006, 11:03 PM
My friend keeps having his tail light assemblies stolen. I guess it's because they are easy and quick to remove.

11-14-2006, 12:08 AM
The chap in the taxi firm, across the road from where I live, got up one morning to find thieves had stolen the front door, both wings and the bonnet from his taxi.
So he bought a nasty Doberman dog for 400 quid, to protect his property.

Three days later the thieves returned - and stole the dog!

There's a trunk road just to the north of me, the A470 'Heads of the Valleys' road.
If someone breaks down on this road they had better get the vehicle recovered fast or at least never leave the car unattended.
The first thing to go are the windows. (Smashed to allow access to the interior.) Then any personal artifacts and the radio-cassette. Then the wheels and battery. finally, body parts such as wing mirrors, bumpers etc.
Some mornings I see freshly broken down vehicles on this road, on my way to work. Usually, by the time I pass it coming home, the vehicle is a skeleton.

11-14-2006, 04:46 PM
Okay, Billywtice's story sounds a lot better than my ms. I am planning on trying to get that published instead!

11-15-2006, 08:12 AM
The kids in the back seat.

11-15-2006, 06:03 PM
I don't leave my kids in the back seat to be stolen, but I suspect that if you do leave your kids in the backseat, they are probably kids no one would want to steal.

11-19-2006, 06:57 AM
Why is weight a constraint rather then space? Wheels and fancy tires are very high on the list of things stripped from cars.

11-19-2006, 07:46 AM
dont forget to check the glove box for money... lol

11-19-2006, 07:00 PM
Why is weight a constraint rather then space? Wheels and fancy tires are very high on the list of things stripped from cars.

Size/value is the important dynamic.

The things being stolen are then smuggled across a border, so smaller things are being stolen.

Tires and wheels would be too large to sumggle out using the methods the smugglers are using.

Cav Guy
11-20-2006, 09:12 PM
Stick with electronics then, although it does require a touch more effort to get into a car than it does to steal things from the exterior.

11-21-2006, 11:09 AM
What kind of country are the parts going to? There is a good market for air-bags in the US.

11-21-2006, 03:43 PM
Prawn - have you checked with the Police? There are often special divisions devoted to tracking down car-theft and stripping.

11-21-2006, 07:18 PM
Kentuk-y, my story takes place in the Middle East, and cars are being stolen, only some parts taken, no parts turning up, so the protag deduces things are being smuggled and sold out of the country.

Bufty, I am in a small town of 25,000 people. There are not many car thefts here. I did a lot of research on line, as some police have that sort of data available, but my local constabulary would not be of help.

11-22-2006, 06:10 PM
In the remote rural area I live in, the cops recently busted a chop shop. The bad guys were:

1. Stealing cars
2. Driving cars onto a loading dock in the city and into the bed of a large dump truck
3. Using the dump truck to deliver the cars to a walled yard out in the country, where they were completely stripped down to the chassis -- which was then sold for scrap metal. Nothing wasted. Because the only vehicle the locals saw go in and out of the property was a dump truck, and because the owner "owned a construction company" nobody suspected anything.

Didn't catch how they were finally caught ...

I guess "what parts will a thief steal" depends on how motivated and creative the thief is!

11-22-2006, 09:43 PM
That's sounds pretty involved. The cops must have caught someone on the inside ofor drugs or something, and he spilled the beans...

Thought Leadership
11-23-2006, 11:17 PM
Pal of mine keeps having to replace the car logo or icon badge - he has a porshe, another has a jag with the fancy hood ornament - easy to pry off. What would I pay for a prancing black horse badge - Ferrari - to stick on my honda?