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1957 Chevrolet Bel Airs Are A Hot Commodity

Thieves target one of America's iconic cars, stealing more than 23,000 in 54 years

Nikolas Kolenich Apr 22, 2013
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With its chrome-topped tail fins and chrome hood rockets, the '57 Chevy rolled off General Motors' assembly lines as a classic from the factory. Surprisingly enough, the '57 Chevy Bel Air is among the most sought after cars in America - for car thieves. In 2012 alone, forty-two '57 Chevys were stolen; a total of 23,250 Bel Airs have been stolen from 1958 through 2012.

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From expensive, late-model luxury cars to old classics, all cars are up for grabs on the black market. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), California leads the pack at 6,700 stolen '57 Chevys, followed by Texas (2,171), New York (1,286), Washington (909), and Missouri (705).

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Check out the spreadsheet of stolen '57 Chevy's HERE

Among these unlucky Chevy owners, television therapist Dr. Phil McGraw had his chrome bumper, classic swiped. In August 2012, Phil's '57 Bel Air was swiped from a repair shop in Burbank, CA. Four months later, in December, officers from Los Angeles County's Taskforce for Regional Autotheft Prevention (TRAP) - which includes a NICB special agent - busted an auto theft ring in the Los Angeles area. Dr. Phil's '57 Chevy was among the stolen vehicles recovered at the scene.

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The current market-price for Bel Air lures the bad guys to steal them. Worth less than $3,000 in 1957, the Bel Air has climbed to heights of $100,000 in value. The most '57 Chevy thefts occurred during calendar year 1972 when 3,071 were stolen. Then, in descending order, it was 1973 (2,682), 1974 (2,098), 1969 (1,648), and 1970 (1,478).

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If you're a classic car owner, remember to never leave your keys on the seat of our car and always refrain from leaving the car running unattended. According to NCIB, if you follow these two rules, you should be in a much better position than the unlucky 23,000 plus '57 Chevy owners mentioned above.



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