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Amid car shortage, SD County auto theft rates on the rise

Amid car shortage, SD County auto theft rates on the rise
Posted at 4:14 PM, Oct 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-28 20:26:25-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Amid a nationwide car shortage, local auto theft rates are spiking.

Surveillance video from a parking lot at the Rancho Mission Villas condo complex in Mission Valley on early Sunday morning shows a woman with a purse and flashlight, scoping out vehicles.

Eventually, she breaks into a 2011 Toyota Corolla, which disappears off the lot. Inside the car was a spare key to a 2021 Toyota RAV4, also parked in the lot.

Hours later, a figure with a large purse hops into that vehicle and drives off. Later that morning, Jose Bautista discovered both of his family's vehicles were gone.

“To find out both vehicles are gone, it’s just horrible and devastating,” said Bautista.

Three days later in Point Loma, Ryan McFarlin woke up and looked out toward the carport in his apartment complex.

“Asked my wife where the car was. Thought she moved it. That’s when we realized it was stolen,” said McFarlin.

Their 2017 Kia Sorrento had vanished.

“I worked hard for it … and someone just took it,” said McFarlin.

He's hardly alone. Amid ongoing supply chain issues and a national wide car shortage, car thieves are going shopping.

Nationally, auto theft rates jumped more than 9% in 2020, according to the National insurance Crime Bureau.

Locally, in numbers released by SANDAG, auto thefts climbed 21% in the first half of 2021, compared to 2020. The statistics will now include two of Bautista's vehicles. On Tuesdya, police told him the thief arranged to sell the Corolla.

“The person who has my vehicle took the cash, ran off with my car and is still out there,” said Bautista.

Both of Bautista’s vehicles are insured, but with the shortage leading to marked up cars, he's in a bind.

“What I'm going to get for the vehicles, especially for Corolla, it won’t be enough for another car,” said Bautista.

Bautista says GPS has pinpointed the RAV4 as being in Tijuana.

Supply chain issues have also caused significant problems for auto part supplies.