BOSTON (CBS) – Imagine parking your brand new car in a parking garage only to return and find it sitting on blocks with all four wheels gone.
The I-Team found it’s happening quite a bit these days. Thieves appear to be targeting a particular model.
The Honda Fit is, as the TV ads say, a “small car of heroic proportions.”
But, many Fit owners are actually throwing a fit these days because the wheels are being stolen right off of the car.
A staggering number of shocked owners have found their cars sitting on milk crates, cinder blocks or just the pavement.
Thieves are feasting on the cars’ small alloy wheels and tires, which detectives say are easy to sell because they also “fit” the very popular Honda Civic.
WBZ-TV Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve reports.
One Boston woman told the I-Team she left her brand new car in a parking garage in the South End only to return and find it sitting on cinder blocks.
She had owned it for six days.
“My car is sitting on a masonry white brick on one side and a jack on the other with just the axles… tipped down… pretty horrifying!” she said.
“I actually did cry a little, like a little girl. It was scary. I was thinking how this could happen in broad daylight?”
It has happened before at that garage, so now Honda Fit owners are warned only to park in certain spots.
There are even web sites devoted to the sad tales of Honda Fit owners.
Sgt. Kenny Lamb of the Boston Police is an expert on stolen cars.
He said there has been a “spike” in recent years. In fact, he said since January in Boston, there have been 71 similar thefts. The tires and rims are then often sold on Craigslist.com.
The experienced detective added that one East Boston thief was running quite the business.
“We found stacks of four tires in the house. They were all stacked together. They were stacked in the living room. They were stacked in the kitchen. They were stacked in the bedroom. There were more than 28 tires that we found in that house,” said Sgt. Lamb.
Documents obtained by the I-Team suggest thieves are also hitting the suburbs.
Weymouth Honda was hit the first week of June and three people from Boston were arrested.
Sgt. John Concannon is with the Weymouth Police.
“They say there is a very good secondary market for the tires and rims stolen off these vehicles. The rims are worth $400 each and the tires anywhere from $150 to $200 each,” said Sgt. Concannon.
You will never guess whose car it was that was hit that night in Weymouth. That is right. The exact same woman from Boston (interviewed above). This is where she bought the car and during the first week of ownership, it was here one night and all four wheels were stolen.
“It is crazy. I wish there was some way to compensate victims because after you buy a car it is a euphoric experience. You are excited but within a few days it was a nightmare. I had no car. I was better off with my 13- year-old yucky car,” said the woman.
So far, she has been hit with more than $3,500 in repair bills and insurance won’t cover it all. Needless to say, for her, it has not been a good fit.
Police suggest people purchase locks for the lug nuts on the wheels.
Dealers offer a package for about $75.
Also, police advised motorists to get a motion-activated alarm system, which sounds if the car is jostled or moved.