NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Parents of babies and young children know just how expensive strollers can be.

More and more, these pricey carriages have started vanishing from sidewalks and front porches and ending up in chop shops.

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1010 WINS’ Alice Stockton-Rossini reports: Buggy Bandits Stealing Strollers  

From state-of-the-art shock absorbers and rugged wheels to plush bucket seats and shiny chrome finishes, strollers have come along way and so have the price tags, ranging from $1,700 to $5,000.

“A stroller is really almost a car for a lot of our customers,” said Peter Roberge, store manager of Albee’s. “They don’t go in and out of their car, they go in and out of their stroller.”

And around New York City, strollers are parked in packs making them easy targets for buggy bandits who wheel them to chop shops where they’re stripped and sold for parts.

“You can take a high-end stroller and sell it for half its price fairly quickly because there is a lot of demand,” said Roberge.

Mom Candice Lombardi says it happened in an instant while she was dropping her daughter off at school on the Upper East Side.   

“My stroller was parked outside my nursery school. They’re usually parked there with no problem but mine was gone,” said Lombardi.

Annette Mendoza Atteridge had two of her strollers stolen, one in her own backyard.

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“I couldn’t believe it,” said Atteridge. “That was pretty disturbing because this is something that we hand-picked for our daughter and it was gone.”

After that, Atteridge decided to do something about it. She invented a stroller lock called the Buggy Guard.

The Buggy Guard was invented by Annette Mendoza Atteridge to protect from stroller theft. (credit: CBS 2)

“You just pull out the cable, wrap it around two wheels,” and your buggy is secured, she explained.

Stroller thefts aren’t unique to New York City. It’s happening in suburbs too and all across the country.

Warnings on the internet show stroller thievery in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and in Lakewood, New Jersey.

In Chicago, outraged parents ask Brookfield Zoo officials to do something about what they’re calling, “Strollergate” and in Manhattan Beach, California, a man and woman allegedly stole 16 high-end strollers from their neighbors.

And while strollers have become a booming business on the black market, Atteridge is hoping her Buggy Guard will at least help protect her daughter’s stroller from being taken again.

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