LAPD: Brazen thieves stealing airbags from mall parking lots

A brazen criminal was caught on security camera stealing a pickup truck tailgate within minutes. It's a crime LAPD says is making a comeback along with thefts of catalytic converters and airbags.

An officer from LAPD's Topanga Division posted a warning on Facebook to shoppers at area malls to beware of the thieves.

During the Christmas season, criminals stole one airbag from a car at the Fallbrook Center and four from Westfield Topanga, targeting Chevy and GMC vehicles.

"Thieves are so good. They can break into a car without smashing windows quicker than you can almost open it with a key," Chuck Bistagne, owner of Bistagne Brothers Body Shop in Glendale, said.

According to Bistagne, airbags can net hundreds of dollars on the secondary market.

"They are worth anywhere from 400 to 800 for the airbag that's on the driver's steering wheel," Bistagne said.

"People rebuild but salvage rebuild and sell them again and try and clean the title so it doesn't look like it's been a salvage car and they're looking for salvage parts anywhere they can get them," Bistagne added.

It's the same for catalytic converters and tailgates. Many older trucks don't have locks on the tailgates but automakers have started adding locks to newer models.

Meanwhile, the LAPD warns the public to beware of their surroundings at mall parking lots.

Fiesty actress and mall shopper Susan Silo, who once played crimefighter Mousey in the original "Batman" series, had a strong message for the thieves.

"Stop stealing from people who work hard to get an airbag... So they can save their children."

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