Thieves ignoring cars, taking the gadgets

June 22, 2006 at 4:47 PM

NEW YORK, June 22 (UPI) -- Car theft in the United States didn't rise much last year, but the number of gadgets stolen from them like GPS systems and even headlights is way up.

FBI statistics say thefts of parts and accessories and high-tech contents, including Blackberries, iPods and portable DVD players increased 30 percent between 2000 and 2004 to 1.78 million.

Most vulnerable are the portable, pocket-size Global Positioning Satellite systems that attach to the windshield or dashboard with suction cups. They cost between $500 to about $2,600, and are becoming a quick-grab prize of choice for thieves, USA Today said.

"There's no wires to cut or screw to pull out (as with) a radio," says Capt. John O'Leary of the Brookline, Mass., police, which has investigated a rash of such thefts. "You just pop off the suction cups."

Some late-model Mercedes Benzes, Audis and Nissans feature Xenon headlights, which emit a high-intensity beam and retail for about $1,500 a set, which has also made them a popular target as well, the newspaper said.

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