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Crime Alert: Increase in Airbag Thefts a Concern

For Immediate Release: Monday, May 10, 2021

From January 1, 2021, to April 30, 2021, there have been over 90 airbag thefts reported countywide.  During the same time period in 2020, there were approximately 18 airbag thefts reported countywide.  The majority of airbag thefts are occurring in the 2nd (Bethesda) and 3rd (Silver Spring) Districts.

Why airbags?

Airbags can be expensive to purchase and install.  Airbags that are stolen are often sold on the black market. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), a new airbag that retails for approximately $1,000 from a car dealer will cost $50 to $200 on the black market.  These stolen airbags might be sold as new by a dishonest seller who will charge the customer or the insurance company the full price.

Also, airbags are easy targets.  They can be stolen quickly.  They are also portable and easy to hide.  A suspect can go to a residential parking lot that is secluded or go at a time when few people are using their vehicles (overnight, for example), and break into several cars.

MCP Asks for Your Help

As patrol officers and investigators continue to work to identify suspects responsible for these crimes, we ask for the community’s help in being our eyes and ears.  If you observe suspicious activity in a parking lot and believe someone is attempting to break into vehicles, please call police!  Just the other day a concerned resident observed a suspect trying vehicle door handles in a residential parking lot and called MCP.  Officers responded and observed the suspect entering unlocked vehicles.  He was arrested.

How can I help prevent my vehicle from being broken into?

  • Park your vehicle in a well-lit area.
  • Lock your vehicle.
  • Remove valuables from your vehicle or place them out of sight.
  • Install a theft-prevention/steering wheel locking device
  • Purchase a car alarm

Some recent airbag thefts in the 2nd (Bethesda) and 3rd (Silver Spring) Districts (not exhaustive list):

On January 18, 2021 – six (6) vehicles in residential parking lots in Silver Spring during the overnight hours: 12300 block of Featherwood Drive, 2000 block of Treetop Lane, 12300 block of Treetop Drive, Featherwood Court


On January 28, 2021 – eight (8) vehicles in a townhome community in Bethesda during the overnight hours - some of the same victims from a theft in December who had installed new airbags: 6600 block of Hillandale Road, 6700 block of Hillandale Road, 4700 block of Chevy Chase Drive, and the 4800 block of Willett Parkway.


On March 18, 2021 – twenty-one (21) vehicles in apartment complexes in Bethesda during overnight hours: 3 Pooks Hill Road, 5160 Pooks Hill Road.


On April 20 – eight (8) vehicles in residential parking lots in Silver Spring during overnight hours: 8201, 8205 and 8333 Grubb Road, 2406 Colston Drive, and 2302 Ashboro Drive.


Detectives from the District Patrol Investigations Units are actively investigating these thefts.  Anyone with information about these thefts is asked to call the 2nd District Patrol Investigations Unit at 240-773-6726 or contact Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) or online.

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Release ID: 21-180
Media Contact: Sergeant Rebecca Innocenti 
Categories: theft