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Thieves Target Vehicles' High Tech Gear

Thieves are targeting new technology. The FBI says thieves have turned their attention to the latest and greatest gadgets made for cars.

News on 6 reporter Jennifer Loren looks at the newest trend in car break-ins.

The FBI says nationwide, thieves are targeting gadgets like GPS devices and portable DVD players. Thieves stole almost 2-million of these type of devices in 2004, making it the fastest growing category for police.

From DVD players to navigation systems, headrest monitors to under the seat amplifiers; in-car electronics are very popular. "In-car entertainment is really big. It’s a great market for us." Rob Rice at Car Toys in Tulsa says like everywhere else, GPS devices are some of their best sellers. "Navigation is real, real popular."

But Tulsa Police say at $500 to $2,000 a pop; they're not just popular with consumers. They're especially popular with thieves.

"If you've got navigation systems, radar detectors, anything you've got up there they're going to be looking for. That's going to make it a target." Tulsa Police Sgt. Greg Mathews says they get more than 100 burglary reports a week, almost all involving in-car electronics.

A Dodge Durango was stolen a couple of weeks ago. When Tulsa Police found it, it was stripped. They say one problem is, you can't take a lot of these gadgets in and out of your car. You can't remove them, so it’s going to be a target. And the problem is when they go in to get this they're going to tear the dash up.

Detective Mathews says some people try to cover their gadgets up. "That doesn't mean you're safe just because you're covering something up. That just says, 'Oh. I wonder what's there.'" He says the best way to protect your things is to use common sense. Take your expensive things in or get an expensive alarm to protect your valuables. "You want your vehicle to be a little bit safer than the one next to it." Detective Mathews says we should all think ahead. We should leave things at home if we know we're going to leave our cars unattended.

Mathews says if you must leave them in your car, leave your gadgets in your trunk. But before you do that, he suggests taking time to disconnect your trunk release switch.
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