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Gone in seconds: Thief steals steering wheel as victim yells at him

Posted at 11:48 PM, Apr 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 23:48:29-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A Detroiter said her home surveillance camera alerted her to a burglary in progress, as the thief stole the steering wheel from her Chevrolet Malibu.

Detroit Rewards TV is offering a $500 reward for tips in the case.

Shattered glass in the victim's driveway, a missing steering column in her Malibu, a leg cast and a crutch are all reminders of a distressing Thursday morning for the woman.

She didn't want to be identified, but she lives near Schoolcraft and Evergreen on Detroit's west side. The Ring video of the theft speaks for itself. From the thief’s first attempt to shatter the glass to the time he pulled the steering wheel out of the car, it took 18 seconds.

“He wanted it so bad that it seemed like with him hearing my voice he still wasn’t... didn’t care," the victim told 7 Action News.

She wants to share the video and her story hoping it’ll help police catch the culprit.

“It wasn’t too much I could do because on my way to him, I fell down the stairs and messed myself up and pretty much crawled to the door," she explained.

Despite yelling at the thief, he continues rummaging around her steering wheel and detached it in just 18 seconds. The camera on her front door shows him running towardshis vehicle. His car eventually comes into view after he drives off.

He got into a white Dodge Magnum with a dark stripe down the middle of it, hit a U-turn and sped away. Police said he’ll likely try to sell the airbag on the black market.

“I would say $450 to maybe $800 per airbag,” Detroit police Lt. Clive Stewart explained. “One of the vehicles that are heavily targeted are the GM products."

“They’re going to secondary dealers and a lot of these illegally-ran collision shops. There’s a definite high market," he continued.

Related: Thieves targeting steering wheels in one Chevy model across metro Detroit

While her doors were locked, Stewart also suggests car owners get an anti-theft device that connects to the bottom of the steering wheel and extends to the brake pedal, and get a steering wheel lock.

“I’m happy that I’m OK, but what if had been somebody with kids that got to take they kids to school," the victim said.

She said she did miss work and went to the hospital. So, she started this GoFundMe page for help with medical expenses.

When asked if she had a message for the thief, the woman said, “Karma, karma's going to get him.”

If you have any information you believe will be helpful in the case, you’re urged to call Detroit police or Crimestoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.