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Increasing Crime: Car Thieves Hot For Hondas

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Right now the city of St. Paul is seeing a rise in car thefts and they’re not alone. Just like other major cities, Hondas made in the 90s are the biggest target.

They’re some of the most popular vehicles on the road.

Honda Civics and Accords are every where you look, making for easy picking for car thieves.

Al Kane, a life-long Honda owner, said he had his stolen last year.

“I didn’t think they would be worth that much anymore,” he said. “It’s an old car, it’s got a lot of miles on it.”

He was shocked when his car was stolen and even more upset at what they did to it.

“I was parked out in front of the house one night and got up in the morning and it was gone,” Kane said. “They drove it two blocks away and took the car top carriers off of it.”

His car was stripped of all its valuable parts, just like a Honda that sits in the city of St. Paul’s impound lot.

It’s a Honda graveyard. Many of the cars that have been stolen, stripped and dumped end up here.

St. Paul police say it’s racing season and thieves mimick pop culture.

Cars are stolen in little time just like in the movie. Here in Minnesota, thieves seek out Hondas because their parts are taken to fix up other cars that will be raced illegally throughout the metro.

Hondas are an easy target because of how quick and easy they are to steal.

“Keys, where the teeth have been worn just a little bit, can fit into an ignition,” said Howie Padilla, public information officer of the St. Paul Police Department.

Police say thieves use worn or shaved keys to easily unlock, start and drive away with a car.

St. Paul’s auto theft has increased over the years — in 2009, 1,789 cars were reported stolen. That number increased to 1,845 in 2011.

There are some things that honda owners can do to protect themselves.

“I lock it up and put it in the garage, do what I need to do,” Kane said.

Police say Honda owners can also use anti-theft devices, like The Club, and immobilizing technology that keeps the car from starting.

Officers are conducting extra patrols in areas where thieves look for these cars.

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