Mercedes, Lexuses, Audis, and BMWs are the main targets of this new kind of theft.
One of the lesser-known implications of having too much technology on a car is the fact that hardware that was once cheap and easy to replace, like the windows, side mirrors, and keys, now cost drivers a small fortune. And it isn’t just price gouging on the part of the automakers and dealerships either. Repairs themselves have gotten more expensive, not just because complex parts cost more, but because replacing them also involves reconnecting and recalibrating the electronics loaded onto the part in question. It means that getting a new windshield now involves ensuring the thickness of the glass won’t throw off lane-keep assist cameras, and that’s before even accounting for camera calibrations and potential wheel alignments needed to get the system operating properly after replacing a windshield. The increasing complexity and cost of these parts is why thieves are starting to target the side mirrors of high-end vehicles, reports the New York Post.
The New York Police Department claims that they’ve received 19 reports of mirror thefts between March 1st and April 26th, all of them taken from Porsches, Lexuses, Mercedes, BMWs, and the like. The cars in question have mirrors with cameras in them as part of their 360-degree camera systems, which give drivers an overhead view of their car when parking to make navigating tight spaces (and keeping those expensive shiny rims from getting scratched) easy. The thieves’ logic starts to make sense when you realize a set of mirrors with cameras, defrosters, and blind spot monitoring integration can sell for $1,500 to $2,000. The New York Police Department isn’t quite sure who is buying all these black market mirrors, but if last week’s wheel thieves have shown anything, it’s that there is still a large market for illegally obtained car parts.
For now it doesn’t look like this type of theft has affected the rest of the country, or even parts of New York City outside of Manhattan, but New York has a way of setting trends that proliferate throughout the rest of the country, whether they're good or bad. "This is a local pattern in Manhattan North and does not appear to be a citywide condition,” said an NYPD spokesman. The police are already investigating the string of crimes in hopes they can stop it before it becomes a new trend among thieves.