ALLEN PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) — First they smash your window and then they take your steering wheel. A local mechanic says it can all happen in a matter of minutes.
The car crime is impacting several communities across metro Detroit.
Sarah Bailey says she was rushing to work in the morning when something stopped her in her tracks.
“At first, I thought my 19-year-old had left the window rolled down and it was pouring rain,” Bailey said.
But this was no mistake.
“Then I looked a little closer and saw the windows were busted out,” Bailey added.
Bailey says someone had broken into her car and stolen her steering wheel, and she wasn’t the only one.
“When officers came, they said I was one of six vehicles just down this road,” Bailey said.
And they all have one thing in common.
“They were all Malibu's,” Detective James Thornborn with the Allen Park Police Department said.
Thornborn says just Thursday morning, he saw a report with four Malibu’s on the same street stripped of their steering wheels. Royal Oak and Dearborn police are investigating similar crimes.
- Royal Oak police investigating neighborhood vandalism, thefts
- Metro Detroit man and police warn about Apple AirTags being used to track cars, people
"Too much, too much,” Greg Vizacharo, the owner of Downriver Collision, said of how often it's happening.
Vizacharo says the problem is two-fold.
Not only do customers have to deal with paying for repairs but right now, you can’t find parts to replace them.
“They're just not out there to get because everybody needs them. They’re just doing this at all the different shops. So my supply house, when I call, they’re like, 'Greg, we have 50 on back order right now at all our shops.'”
Vizacharo say it’s likely if you get your steering wheel swiped, don’t expect to get your car back for at least a month.
“It’s just an unreal problem. You wouldn’t think you would have to worry about someone stealing your steering wheel and then being worried you cant even get another one to fix it." Bailey said.
But why a steering wheel? Police believe it's because of airbags. Vizarcharo says it's likely due to a metal inside.
Either way, Allen Park police say they are deploying extra patrol officers to guard the streets.
Police say the best way to protect your car is to keep it in a garage or in your driveway, and it’s always helpful if you have a security camera or Ring light.