Bakersfield Police are urging people to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior in parking lots after a wave of Honda thefts last week on and near the Bakersfield College campus.
There were at least eight successful or attempted thefts last week alone, according to reports filed by both campus police and the BPD.
The college's parking lots are tempting targets for car thieves because there are plenty of cars to choose from and not many people milling around the lots. Student Julian Alberto says he has been extra protective of his Honda due to the recent crime wave. “Especially because my parents bought it. It’s something meant for me and it cost them. They worked for it. I always lock the windows and make sure the alarm is on.”
But, sometimes that’s not enough. The cars targeted have been 1990's Hondas which are relatively easy to both find and steal.
“It’s so easy to get into them that people generally think that they’re entering them with a key,” said BPD spokesperson Sgt. Mary DeGeare. “It’s not like they’re breaking the window and causing a lot of attention.”
Bakersfield College police estimate that close to a third of cars parked on or near campus on any given day are Hondas. But, it’s not the cars themselves that are so enticing – it’s the parts.
“Hondas you can sell for $3,000 and for the parts you can make close to $5,000,” said local mechanic Noel Nalupa..
Nalupa says his shop always checks Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) and asks for proper paperwork before accepting cars. But, he says he’s seen firsthand the huge demand for older Honda parts, some of which are quite valuable because they are so difficult to find today.
“Because the kids got them and they'll pay whatever the cost is,” said Nalupa. “I don't know where they get the money.”