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Thieves looking to steal third-row SUV seats are targeting GM cars, police say

May 29, 2010 |  2:18 pm

Police are warning owners of large sport-utility vehicles made by General Motors -- particularly the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade -- to be careful after a string of cases in which bandits smash car windows to steal valuable third-row seats.

In Burbank, at least 35 similar break-ins have occurred this year, often midday at busy shopping centers, according to police records. The thefts dispel the myth that this type of crime happens only in the early-morning hours and on residential streets, said Burbank police Sgt. Robert Quesada. Another rash of thefts was recently reported in the Whittier area.

Investigators received their first promising lead this month after the owner of a Chevrolet Tahoe spotted three Latino men trying to steal his third-row seat in the 3500 block of Jeffries Avenue. The owner of the vehicle, a 29-year-old Burbank man, gave chase before the suspects fled in a green Dodge van.

Since the attempted May 6 theft, officers have set up surveillance operations but have yet to make any arrests. The types of operations are often hit and miss unless done on a large scale, authorities said.

Thieves have been targeting SUVs made by General Motors, whose models have an optional third-row seat that takes just a few seconds to remove and has a resale value that can top $1,500.

"The market will bear whatever the price is for those seats," Quesada said. "If they're a hot commodity, people are going to go after them."

Read the full story here.