From the Spokesman Review yesterday
Car thefts up sharply in area
County sees rise of 13 percent
Instead of three or four cars being stolen each day in Spokane, it's increased to at least 10 and sometimes as many as 18 vehicles per day.
Spokane County also has seen a rise in car thefts this year, sheriff's officials said.
"For the most part, the cars are being stolen just to get from one point to another," Spokane police spokesman Cpl. Tom Lee said.
But clear favorites are emerging.
Thieves appear particular to pre-1996 Hondas, Toyotas and Saturns because they are easier to steal than other makes, Lee said. Criminals will shave down a key for a Saturn, for example, and it will work on multiple models.
Newer models of those cars have computer chips in the keys, and the ignition has to detect the chip in order to start, police said.
Thirteen cars were stolen in the city of Spokane on Tuesday, according to a crime analysis spokesman. Ten cars per day has been average since January.
In Spokane County, 326 vehicles were stolen between January and June, compared with 287 during the same time last year, which was about a 13 percent increase, said Spokane County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Dave Reagan.
Lee said the vehicle thefts in Spokane aren't occurring in particular areas.
"It's anywhere and everywhere in the city for the most part," Lee said. "But many of them have been stolen from large parking lots such as shopping malls and apartment complexes."
In terms of arrests, "we've gotten a few from fingerprints in the car," Lee said. "But we are catching many of them while they are driving around because we have a couple patrol officers who are just famous for catching car thieves."
The patrol officers who are diligent about catching car thieves often run license plates of Hondas, Saturns and Toyotas they see on the road to find out if the cars have been reported stolen, Lee said. Or they recognize the person driving it as someone with a criminal record.
Lee offered a couple tips to prevent becoming a victim.
"If you can't park in a garage, consider getting some other anti-theft device such as The Club," Lee said. "If you have a Club on the steering wheel, most thieves are going to move on to the next car because it's too much hassle."