Tire thefts on the rise in Northeast Philly

Police recently warned residents about group of thieves that have been taking tires and rims from Honda Accord models.

Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum of Northeast Detectives speaks to reporters Wednesday, Feb. 13, about a recent spike in tire thefts in the area. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

Authorities are warning residents about groups of thieves that are roaming around Northeast Philadelphia stealing tires and rims off of 2015 and later Honda Accord models.

The disturbing trend has been accelerating at an alarming rate in recent months. There have been 60 reported thefts since December in the four police districts in the Northeast, according to Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum of Northeast Detectives.

“It’s a quality-of-life issue that’s really hurt people in the pocket,” Rosenbaum said.

Replacing all four tires and rims typically costs between $3,000 and $4,000, and car owners could be on the hook for thousands more if the thieves damage the frame of the vehicle during the heist, Rosenbaum said.

He said police think the criminals sell the tires on the black market for $400 to $800 a set.

Recently, officers responded to three similar thefts on the same night, all at large apartment complexes. Investigators believe it was the same crew that hit all three cars, leaving them on soda crates.

Rosenbaum said authorities believe several groups of two to three thieves have been on the move around the city. He said they use cordless power tools to get lug nuts off.

The groups target Honda Accords because of the expensive tires and rims as well as the interchangeability of the parts.

“We’ve had multiple victims that have been hit multiple times,” Rosenbaum said.

There are several ways car owners can try to avoid being victimized. Rosenbaum advised drivers to park in their garages or in driveways close to their homes.

Aftermarket lug nut locks also seem to deter thieves, but don’t keep the key in the glove compartment, Rosenbaum said. He said there have been crews that smash a window to get the key. ••