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Thieves steal car doors in a matter of minutes; nothing else taken from vehicle

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Posted at 5:50 PM, Apr 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-14 07:18:15-04

A couple of bolts and shards of glass are all that's left of Michelle Durham’s two passenger car doors.

She was walking her child to school on April 4 when she saw a car on the 100 block of N. Kenwood Ave. that was missing its doors.

“I take my child to school, drop him off and come back thinking that's not my car I parked it somewhere else, my doors will be there,” said Durham.

When she got back she realized it was in fact her car, and it was missing some very important hardware.

“They popped my hood, they undid the cable that goes to the battery, they smashed the window, which the glass is still there. They undid the bolts, probably eight bolts, and snipped the harness and went off with my doors,” Durham said.

The thieves took Durham’s two passenger doors and nothing else.

“The car seat, everything was in there. No radio was stolen, no engine parts, everything was in the car in tact just two doors were taken off of the car,” said Durham.

Durham went searching for camera footage and found images of the men she believes committed the crime.

The video shows the two men walking down N. Kenwood Avenue at 12:22 a.m. They turn the corner where Durham's car was parked. Then the two men appear on-camera in the back alley at 12:27 a.m., just five minutes later with two car doors in hand.

Tom Reich, a special agent with the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) believes it was a targeted crime.

“This was a made-to-order theft where there's a damaged identical vehicle,” Reich said.

According to Reich, orders like that typically come from unscrupulous auto body shops or unlicensed mechanics.

“Let's say each door runs a thousand dollars. The person that ordered it pays the two men a couple hundred bucks, $500 to go out and get them. There's a $1,500 profit margin right there and they'll charge the person that needs a new door the full amount,” Reich said.

It doesn't help that Durham’s 2008 Honda Accord is one of the most popular cars and the most stolen according to the NICB’s “Hot Wheels” report. There's high demand for the parts making her car more of a target, but even so, Durham never thought she’d be the victim of this particular kind of crime.

The NICB recommends car owner’s use common sense: always lock your car, park in well-lit, high traffic areas and to make sure your car has an alarm or buy a secondary one.

Unfortunately, the NICB said there's not too much someone can do if their vehicle is targeted.

Durham said her car was locked. She also filed a police report and insurance claim. She added that she would like to see more patrol officers walking around at night to try and deter crime.