Thieves Target Older Model Hondas

It is one of the most popular car brands in America, topping the list in sales annually. It is also the most regularly stolen car brand in America. Honda Civics and Accords are major targets for thieves.

Crooks in the metro are targeting them as well. Julie Yeshnowski and her partner took in a movie at Westroads Mall last Saturday. Little did they know they would live their own version of "Gone In 60 Seconds" after the movie.

"We walked around for about 10 minutes are I finally told my partner Suzie, they stole the car," Yeshnowski said. Their 1996 silver Honda Civic Coupe was gone. "You don't think anyone's going to bother a 17-year-old car even in the best of shape."

The women didn't see any evidence of a break-in. Yeshnowski said they left the the car locked, the windows up and no valuables were left inside. "Obviously they know what they were doing."

Yeshnowski knows others who have had similar problems. "A friend had her Accord stolen from Central Middle School in Millard, 155,000 miles on a 1994. It must be an easy pick."

Early to mid-90s Hondas top the list of most often stolen cars in America because many of the parts are interchangeable. Matt O'Daniel of O'Daniel Honda says there are other reasons. "Honda is so high on those lists because there were so many of them sold and they're still out there running. For a Honda to last 15 years is not unusual."

O'Daniel said Honda has made changes in the models because of their popularity with thieves, beginning with chips in the keys themselves to prevent the car from starting. "It takes a much more sophisticated person with much more equipment to make this car run than it did in previous years."

Newer models use sidewinder keys which are harder to duplicate. "The machines that we use to cut these keys cost several thousand dollars, they can't be punched with a $30 handheld key punch any longer."

Yeshnowski is still amazed at how quickly their car disappeared. "They were in and gone as quickly as we'd have been with the keys."

O'Daniel said there are add-on security systems available for older model Hondas. He said The Club is still an effective anti-theft tool because thieves would have to saw through the steering wheel to drive the car away and that takes time.

Yeshnowski said she and her partner will never be able to replace what they had and will get what they can when the insurance money comes through.

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