WESTON (CBSMiami) – When Beatriz Malnic walked up to her Honda Civic last Tuesday morning, she knew immediately that something was wrong.

“This was all off,” she said, pointing to the airbag that sits in the middle of the steering wheel.  “And the hood was slightly open and the wire was cut.”

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Thieves stole her airbag—and she wasn’t alone.

Eight people were ripped off at the Weston Place Apartments on the same night.  Seven of those cars were Hondas, one was a Nissan.  And the crooks worked fast.

“These guys are good at what they do,” said BSO Spokeswoman Dani Moschella.  “They’re in and out of these vehicles in just a matter of minutes. You think it might be a large technical undertaking, but it’s not.”

About three minutes is what it takes to get in and out of a car—and this is not just a problem in Weston.

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A similar incident happened this week at an apartment complex in the Brickell area of Miami where Honda’s and Nissan’s were also the targets, and, like with Beatriz, thieves appeared to have one specific item in mind.

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“I had musical equipment in the back of my car, but they were not interested, apparently, they only wanted to airbag,” she said.  “They must have a market an airbag market.”

It’s a very lucrative market.  The airbags are worth more than two thousand dollars each.

Investigators believe after crooks snatch them they’re sold on the black market for bargain prices.

Beatriz is taking advice from the sheriff’s deputies by, from now on, parking in a well-lit area.  Detectives also suggest if you have a garage, use it to park.

If you have information that can help, give Miami Dade Crime Stoppers a call at 305-471-TIPS or in Broward 954-493-TIPS.


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Ted Scouten