NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)-- It's happening again with crooks in New Haven swiping the wheels right off of cars. It's a spree that still has police stumped.
They are the hottest wheels on the black market for thieves. Crooks struck again in New Haven, moving to another neighborhood in East Rock targeting the Honda Fit.
Two residents were awakened Thursday to find their wheels stolen. They live about about a block away from each other on Cottage and Livingston streets. They're the latest victims in a string of wheel thefts.
Some New Haven Fit owners are concerned.
"That's horrifying, that's the first I've heard of this," said Stephen Gaffney, East Rock resident.
Honda dealers say they've seen a staggering number of car owners driving old Civics flashing new Fit wheels.
"I've had people come into our parking lot and they've had the Fit rims on the older Civics," said Craig Jennings, service manager at Courtney Honda.
Thieves are targeting the car's small alloy wheels and tires which Honda dealers say are easy to sell because it's an easy fit for the popular Honda Civic.
"These rims will fit a '92 to 2000 Civic," said Jennings. "It's the cars that the kids drive, and they steal them to have new wheels on their car, or they sell them."
What makes the Honda Fit a hot target for thieves, some say it's the small wheels. And these wheels demand high prices on the illegal car parts market.
Brazen thieves also struck Courtney Honda breaking into a lot, loading up on rims.
"They would cut through the fence, they'd come in and steal them," Jennings said. "The next morning we came in and there are cars with tires and rims missing," said Jennings.
Fit owners are turning to wheel locks, but Jennings says "the wheel locks have become ineffective. They have a tool out there they can get them right off with. They're using electric impact guns. They're fast, they're efficient, they're quiet."
Fit owners say they're thinking about taking drastic measures.
"I might have to rely on the generosity of my neighbors because they have a spare spot in the garage," said Gaffney.
"Until the wheel lock company comes up with the wheel lock they can't get off, short of putting the car in your garage you're not safe," said Jennings.
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