Lock your Subaru, thieves like them - police

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 12:00 11/12/2012

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Subarus are Palmerston North's most popular target for car thieves, and police are warning people not to make them an easy mark for criminals this Christmas.

Senior Sergeant Brett Calkin said that an average 10 cars were stolen in Palmerston North every week, equating to more than 500 vehicles during the course of the year.

About 35 per cent of those were never recovered.

As Christmas approached, police were warning people to take extra care to secure their cars, because thefts often increased during summer, he said.

The most popular cars for thieves were the Subaru Legacy and Impreza, Mitsubishi Lancer, Nissan Skyline, Mazda 323 and the Ford Laser, in that order.

Silver was the most popular colour of cars taken.

Three of those cars, the Impreza, Lancer and Skyline, also feature on the AA's top 10 stolen cars list, compiled from insurance claims from 2007 to 2011 throughout the country.

Mr Calkin said these types of cars were "highly desirable" among young people. There were a lot around, which made them easy to sell for parts or strip them of their identification and resell them.

But no matter what sort of cars people had, they were advised to park in well-lit, busy areas or near security lighting if a garage were not available.

Locks or wheel clamps were also worthwhile investments to deter offenders.

Many cars were left unlocked, or with the windows open, at the time they were stolen, he said.

Earlier this year, Dylon Robert Sergent, 25, was sentenced to five years' jail for aggravated robbery after taking a modified Subaru valued at $36,996 at gunpoint from Rose City Cars.

Peter Day, of Peter Day Motors, said he got out of the high-performance car market because of the problems associated with them.

He said since he had moved into more of a "family vehicle" market, he had seen few issues.

Most of such "boy racer" cars were from Japan, and new trading emissions regulations had changed the rules around which cars could be imported.

Fewer such cars were coming into the country, and when they did they were more expensive. People they appealed to found them harder to afford and often could not get finance.

These factors probably contributed to making them a target for thieves, he said. Private sellers and the public were most at risk.

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- The Manawatu Standard

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