ARLINGTON, Va. — The glass is still shattered on a car parked in an apartment complex at 2000 South Eads Street in Arlington. The driver's side airbag is gone.
It’s one of 11 cars — all of which are Honda Civics — burglarized in Arlington early Wednesday morning between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.
According to police, 5 of the Honda Civics vandalized were located on South Eads Street and the other 6 were located on Columbia Pike.
Matt Armendarism was among those who woke up and found his car was broken into.
“I was about to go to work and it was absolutely the worst thing that could have happened to my day," he said in an interview with WUSA9.
Armendarism recently moved from Ashburn to the 2000 block of Columbia Pike in an apartment complex, located 2.5 miles from the first area that was targeted on South Eads Street.
Arlington County Police Department say that over the past three weeks, 35 airbags have been stolen from vehicles. It’s not clear if all 35 were from Honda Civics.
After the string of thefts Wednesday morning, WUSA9 found that thieves targeted the passenger’s side of the cars. Police explained that after shattering the passenger window, they dive through it onto the driver’s seat, so they avoid getting cut with glass as they work to remove the airbag. An airbag can be stolen within a minute, police say.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, mechanics can buy a stolen airbag for $200, then charge their customer the average cost of $1,800 and pocket the difference.
"I didn’t even know there was a resale value for airbags," Armendaris said.
Arlington police do not know why thieves are targeting this area now. Montgomery County, Md. had a rash of airbag thefts last year.
"Arlington County Police Department is increasing patrols in the area but also asking for the public’s assistance if you see suspicious activity in your neighborhood, report that to police for investigation," Ashley Savage, the spokesperson for ACPD, told WUSA9.
Armendaris has a message for the airbag thief: "I’d say, get a better job. We’re all working out here. For somebody to just come up and break into a bunch of different cars and take their stuff, it’s not a job."