Cops: Side Mirror Thefts Are Lucrative And Becoming More And More Common

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Car radios, airbags and headlights have long been targets for thieves. But now, they are going after side mirrors.

As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported exclusively Wednesday, police have been looking for a man who has been walking up to cars and ripping off mirrors in Harlem. Most recently on West 128th Street, he hit nearly a dozen cars in one night.

“Eleven,” said James Blue, a relative of one of the thief’s victims. “Eleven cars they took them off.”

Neighbors said the thief went mostly after high-end makes — Cadillac, Mercedes Benz, and Lexus.

“One of them being my sister-in-law’s, a Lexus,” Frank Ray said.

On the night of the thefts, a camera outside a residence shot the theft in action. The man walked up, pried off the mirror in four seconds, and moved on to grab the mirror on the other side.

Most high-end mirrors are heated and in remotely controlled frames, all of which can cost up to $1,000. But police said the thieves are taking only the mirrors themselves.

“To take the housing off, you have to open the door. It’s a big production,” said Manhattan body shop owner Michael Glickman. “To snap that mirror off, it takes a couple of seconds.”

Glickman said such thefts are happening more frequently.

“We’ve replaced quite a few of them,” he said.

The mirrors are hot because they’re expensive.

“Each mirror cost, I believe, $400,” Ray said.

And some can be even more valuable than that, according to Glickman.

“Some of them are real expensive,” he said. “The ones that tint are $400 to $500.”

Denise Joseph said she has had both mirrors taken in the past.

“They didn’t hit me this time,” she said. “They got me before, and the last time they got me was crosstown. It wasn’t over here.”

Police were looking for a man described as white or Hispanic in his 20s, standing 5-foot-8 to 6-foot, and carrying a messenger satchel.

Police characterized the mirror thefts as a “nuisance crime” that in some cases goes unreported. They added that when the crimes are reported, it is often days later — once people realize the mirrors are missing.

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