(Updated at 1:10 p.m.) There have been 41 reported thefts of vehicle tires and rims in Arlington so far this year. Of those, 24 have been stolen from just two models: the Honda Fit and Civic.
In keeping with what seems to be a national trend, the Fit is the most-targeted of the two, accounting for 16 — nearly two fifths — of the 41 thefts, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Tara-Leeway Heights resident Tom Olsen says he recently was the victim of the wheel thieves.
“My wife and I woke… to find that all 8 wheels had been stolen from our cars — a Honda Fit and a Honda Civic,” he told ARLnow.com. “The cars were in the driveway of our house. Both cars were locked… and near enough to a streetlight that the thieves would have been seen by a passerby. Also, the Civic had locking lug nuts on the wheels, but the thieves didn’t have any problem removing them. The officer said a pro can get them off easily, it just takes them slightly longer.”
“According to the police, [the] tow operator and rental car agent, Honda Fits (and to a lesser extent, Civics) have been targeted recently in and around Arlington as well as in Maryland and D.C.,” he continued. “In fact, when we told the rental car guy that our wheels had been stolen, he immediately asked ‘Do you have a Fit?'”
The Honda Fit Sport model is in demand because its 15-inch allow wheels fit low-riding cars customized for street racing. They also fetch high prices on the illegal car parts market.
The thefts usually happen between midnight and 5 a.m., [Fairfax County police officer Brendan] Murphy said. The thieves usually break into the car first to remove the jack so they can get the wheels off. The whole operation only takes a few minutes.
He advises Honda owners to install motion sensor lights. Car alarms with tilt sensors would be good, too. And if you happen to get up in the middle of the night, check on your car.
Photos courtesy Tom Olsen