This week’s feature story dove into the life of Reynaldo Nazario, an old-school car thief who used old-school methods to steal older-model cars. In October 2012, Bronx prosecutors charged him with stealing 30 cars over a 75-day stretch. To boost the cars, Nazario used shaved keys. He had 10 keys, from various models of car, filed down with sandpaper. With the right touch, these keys can turn on a car’s ignition.
Technology, though, has made this method antiquated. In the late ’90s, auto manufacturers implanted microchips in keys that made it impossible to start a car with a counterfeit. So Nazario targeted only early- and mid-’90s models.
Of the 30 he was accused of stealing in 2012, according to the indictment, two were 1994 Nissan Altimas, one was a 1996 Nissan Maxima, and one was a 1991 Toyota Camry.
The other 26 were Honda Accords.
The car he stole most often was a 1996 Honda Accord. He stole nine of those. He also stole eight 1997 Honda Accords, four 1994 Honda Accords, three 1995 Accords, and two 1992 Accords.
Honda Accords are the most frequently stolen cars in America, partially because they are one of the most common cars in America. The 1996 and 1997 versions are particularly hot targets. They are old enough not to have ignition-key technology, but new enough that many of them are still on the road.
In 2013, fewer than a thousand 1998 Honda Accords were reported stolen, while more than 7,000 1997 Accords, around 8,000 1996 Accords, and around 6,000 1995 Accords were reported stolen, according to National Insurance Crime Bureau data.
Nazario took the cars to New England Used Auto Parts, a junkyard in the Bronx. The yard gave him $450 for each car. To complete the transaction, Nazario needed only to sign an MV-35, a document that a seller can use if he does not have a title for the car and if the car is at least eight years old.
Next: the indictment against Nazario
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