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Car thieves love luxury rides

By Jay MacDonald ·
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

You know who shares your expensive taste in luxury cars? Car thieves, that's who.

And if the new report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, or NICB, is any indication, your auto insurance company may be less excited than you are about your recent purchase of a Mercedes-Benz, especially if you live in car-crazy California.

There were 4,384 luxury vehicles stolen nationwide from 2009 through 2012, according to the NICB. Thieves preferred the compact luxury class, with 2,150 thefts, compared to the midsize class, with 1,734 thefts, and the high-dollar premium class, with 500 thefts.

When the bureau drilled deep into its theft data for luxury class vehicles, it found that thieves preferred the Mercedes-Benz C Class, which topped the most-likely-to-disappear list with 485 thefts, edging the BMW 3 Series, with 471 vehicles stolen. Mercedes' E Class (381 thefts) and S Class (163) models also made the paradise-lost list, as did BMW's 5 Series (256) and 7 Series (126), as well as the Infinity G Series (405) and M Series (124), Cadillac's CTS (326) and Acura's TL Series (150).

Most populous state has most thefts

California led the nation, with 1,063 luxury car thefts reported, followed by Florida, with 674, and New Jersey, with 453. If you want to keep your Benz safe, you'd be advised to set your GPS to South Dakota or Wyoming, which reported just one luxury-vehicle theft each.

As for recovery, the high-end premium luxury rides were twice as likely to remain at-large, with 34.4 percent of these models unrecovered, compared to 14.3 percent of compact models and 13.5 percent of midsize thefts. Nationally, 713 stolen luxury vehicles, or 16.3 percent of the nationwide total, remain missing in action -- or more likely, in inaction.

These are vehicles that are more likely to have been targeted by sophisticated organized theft rings, which dismantle stolen vehicles for parts, VIN-switch them to resell to unsuspecting buyers, or export them to other countries, says the NICB.

Everyone with auto insurance pays a price for the criminal deeds of car thieves. To anonymously report a stolen vehicle, you can contact the NICB toll-free at 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422), text the keyword “fraud” to TIP411 (847411) or go online at, where you can fill in a stolen-vehicle form and download the free NICB fraud tips app to your Android or iPhone.

Follow me on Twitter: @omnisaurus

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Jay MacDonald is a Bankrate contributing editor and co-author of "Future Millionaires' Guidebook," an e-book by Bankrate editors and reporters.

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August 14, 2013 at 9:10 am

So, a Benz is not a luxury car? It may not be luxurious on the inside but it drives like a dream. It is so quiet I have actually on several occasions gotten out of the car without turning it off! The drive is smooth and the turning radius is on a dime! Never been stuck in winter weather...never breaks down...everything works at all times. Great on trips and around town. I have tried to buy other cars but I always go back to the Benz.

cammi anal
August 13, 2013 at 11:00 pm

u so dumb

August 10, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Who cares? really, a car is a car. A to B! Right?

August 10, 2013 at 10:03 pm

OOOOO, Look at me I drive a Lexus!

August 10, 2013 at 7:09 pm

BMW and Lexus are the better luxury cars. Mercedes is for old folk.

noam choseed
August 10, 2013 at 5:29 pm

What they don't make you seem bigger?

August 10, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Hard to believe that the theives want the new cars.

R. A. Gallone
August 10, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Some of you actually believe the Lexus is a luxury car??!!

Larry Burns
August 10, 2013 at 2:16 pm

One interesting fact about Lexus. There has never been a report
of a stolen Lexus unless the key was in the car, of course.

August 10, 2013 at 12:59 pm

To Dennis,
So, the family is poor because your dad drank his earnings (I do feel for anyone in that situation) maybe because of a predisposition to alcoholism, and that somehow justifies stealing other peoples' possessions? Then, you must not get upset when your things, which you worked hard for, are stolen because you understand why they stole your car.