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Inside a Chop Shop | Crime

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Inside a Chop Shop
Crime

LAS VEGAS -- In a matter of minutes, car thieves can break in, steal and strip your vehicle, selling its parts for thousands on the black market. Experts want to show how they do it, because Las Vegas drivers are some of the most vulnerable in the country.

Experts say while valley theft numbers have gone down the last few years, common sense and a few simple steps will help put the brakes on this bad problem.

A three-man mock thief team gets their game plan together, preparing to dismantle a 2007 Toyota Camry down to the frame. Now you see it, now you don't.

SLIDESHOW: Inside a Chop Shop

"It's an eye opener to see just how quickly a car can be stolen and stripped of it's parts," said Metro Auto Theft Sgt. Andrew Patzer.

The demonstration is part of Allstate Insurance's Stripped in Seconds Tour, a cross country campaign targeting cities with high car theft.

Las Vegas police reports 2,400 stolen cars so far this year, on pace for only half of the 9,000 thefts from last year and will be down from the 20,000 stolen in 2006 when the valley led the country for the crime. Right now, Las Vegas ranks ninth in the nation.

Bad guys are taking your car, stripping it and turning huge profits.

"For seven seconds to break in, a minute to drive off, and 10 seconds to chop it up and sell it for $3,000 is a pretty good return for 10 minutes of time," said Allstate spokesman Scott Leightman.

Using hand tools, technicians turned a Town Square parking lot into a fake crime scene. But crooks can strike using anything, anywhere.

"They're using power tools, torches, they're more prepared. But stuff like this could happen in your driveway while you're sleeping," said technician Brenton Meservey.

In just over six minutes, the technicians completely tear apart the Camry. Some tips to avoid it include locking your car, etching your VIN number all over your car parts, and never leaving your car running unattended.

Crime