Sixteen vehicle airbags and a vehicle were stolen in Aberdeen, Abingdon and Belcamp last Wednesday night through Thursday morning, according to the Harford County Sheriff's Office.
According to detectives, in almost all of the cases, the thieves broke out a rear passenger window, unlocked the front door and then, after opening the hood and disconnecting the battery, re-entered the car and stole the airbag affixed to the steering wheel.
The batteries are disabled to avoid the airbag deploying, which could injure the thief, but also renders it useless, according to Edward Hopkins, spokesman for the sheriff's office.
Airbags, which are expensive, are typically sold on the streets to auto repair dealers, he said.
Victims reported no other items were stolen and damage was limited to the window thieves broke to enter the car. Theft and damages are estimated at approximately $1,200 per car.
Detectives are reminding residents to lock their cars and remove any personal items from them and take them inside, Hopkins said.
A car was stolen during the same time period. While deputies were conducting an investigation in the 4800 block of Mantlewood Way in Aberdeen, a resident informed them his 2010 black Honda Accord was stolen. The car was recovered a short time later in the 2600 block Longridge Court in Abingdon, a community from where other car airbags had been stolen.
Police have no suspects and are asking for the public's help. Anyone with information is asked to call the Harford County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division, 410-836-5437. Callers can also report tips anonymously and tipsters could be eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those involved. Tips can be submitted at http://www.harfordsheriff.org/wanted; sent to Metro Crime Stoppers, starting the message with MCS and texting it to CRIMES (274637); or called in to Harford Crime Solvers, 888-540-8477.