Car rim and wheel thefts are rising across DC
WASHINGTON - Car rim and wheel thefts have been an issue in D.C. for several years, and numbers seem to show the problem is rising.
D.C. Police tell Fox 5's Stephanie Ramirez that so far this year, the department has had 133 reports of stolen rims and wheels. That number is up significantly from the 38 wheel and rims reported stolen at this time last year.
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Ramirez spoke with a Southeast D.C. woman who tells Fox 5 that this type of theft has happened to her twice. Kelly Roark says her car was targeted twice in five months
"It’s just feels feudal. It feels very frustrated and it feels a little bit helpless," Roark tells Fox 5.
Roark says her car was first targeted on October 24, 2021 and again this past weekend. Both incidents happened between 2 and 3 in the morning.
The latest theft was caught on a surveillance camera that appears to show the suspects taking her wheels to a dark-colored van.
She says the thieves involved in the second incident were able to break through off-market locks she had installed to help protect her wheels. Roark believes this may have slowed the thieves down some, but they were still able to swipe all four of her Honda Civic wheels in just minutes.
Roark says she previously reported the thefts, but police were not able to offer much help.
"Typically when these reports happen, they say, ‘Well you know, violent crime and there are other cases that are more important, but I do just want to remind the public figures that these are still felonies. Entire neighborhoods are impacted by this and we no longer feel safe," said Roark to Fox 5.
Tow truck driver Ibraham Aburish, who goes by Beebo, has been using TikTok to document all the theft calls he’s responded to. He mostly works for a rental company, and says 95% of wheel theft calls, are for newer Toyota Camry models. He’s also seen calls for Nissan Rogues and Altima, and more recently, Hondas.
"Apparently the Toyota rims can be used on other models. They fit other cars. So it makes it, the demand much higher. So you’re going to get new rims and new tires," said Aburish.
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Aburish also tells Fox 5 that he will soon test-out a newer wheel lock, that also includes a lug nut cover, to see if it will help keep thieves away.