PANORAMA CITY ( — There have been a string of car thefts in northwestern communities of the San Fernando Valley, according to a newspaper report.

The Daily News reports that thieves have been targeting Hondas and Toyotas, among other vehicles, in Sylmar and Panorama City.

The thefts often occur between midnight and 6 a.m., LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon told the newspaper.

Nearly nine times out of 10, the thefts take place on a street or parking lot.

More than 80 percent of the vehicles nabbed were models more than a decade old. Vernon attributed this to the fact that few of these cars have anti-theft systems and it being easy to break into them with shaved keys. He added that many of these vehicles were left unlocked because the owners don’t consider their older cars worth protecting.

The Daily News reports that, “More than half of the cars that are stolen are found within two days, suggesting that they are taken for transportation rather than for parts. Many of the cars taken for a short duration have items taken from them, indicating there is a secondary motive for stealing a car.”

Car owners have been advised to lock their cars and install an anti-theft system. Police also suggested owners park in a secured yard or garage, hide a kill switch and replace broken anti-theft bars. Adding an addition lock to the hood could prevent thieves from stealing the vehicle’s battery or messing with the engine.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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