33 stolen airbags, steering wheels recovered after string of car thefts in Dearborn

Posted at 10:19 PM, Aug 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-22 23:17:41-04

DEARBORN, Mich. (WXYZ) — Airbag and steering wheel thefts continue to plague the metro Detroit area.

Dearborn police arrested two suspects in connection to a theft incident that occurred on Aug. 18.

Police say around 3 a.m., the subjects were seen smashing the window of a Chevrolet Malibu in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn located at 6355 Mercury Drive.

The two men then removed the vehicle’s steering wheel. After a vehicle pursuit, the suspects were taken into custody.

Police found 33 stolen airbags and steering wheels and recovered them as part of the investigation.

"I mean, they are nice cars. There are a lot of them on the road, it makes sense," said Jonathan Hall, a current guest at the Holiday Inn.

He rented a Malibu while he was in town for work.

He didn't know about the theft, but hearing they've become more common doesn't surprise him.

"That's a problem we are having now, supply chain is an issue," Hall said. "We are seeing it every day."

Police say thieves are targeting Malibu’s because they have universal airbags.

"It can be used in multiple vehicles: Ford, GM, Chrysler," Dearborn Police Department Lt. Jason Skoczylas said. "They take the airbag and they take the steering wheel at the same time — this way, they can take it out later and they can re-sell it," he said.

Skoczylas says criminals aren't just doing this in Dearborn, it's happening across the country.

"They go out for a few hours and they steal airbags from their neighbor, from the elderly, they don't even know who they are taking it from," Skoczylas said. "And they're in and out within 30 seconds to a minute."

Skoczylas says the Aug. 18 bust took hours of surveillance and hard detective work.

"We are here to make sure Dearborn residents feel safe and when they go home and to sleep at night, their belongings, their property and their persons are all safe," he said.

You should always be locking your cars to avoid falling victim to this crime.

Police say owners are also encouraged to put cars in well-lit areas and or in the sight of a security camera.