Keeping Your Car Out of the Chop Shop

May 28, 2007 - Posted at 5:45 p.m. CDT

REGION 8 -- Going outside and finding broken glass where your car used to be parked is a stomach-sickening experience. Your car can be gone in sixty seconds...but it's the chop shop that will be cashing in.

It's amazing just how fast you could lose your car. An old car painted up to look new. It's been totaled, but it works for our demonstration.

In a matter of minutes our team shows just how fast a thief can rip apart your car.  Often times your car is worth more in pieces than it is together.

Allstate Insurance Company teams up with the National Insurance Crime Bureau in one big glorified demonstration that should teach you to at least lock your doors.

Take a good look at how quick they can move! Tom Zimmer, he's actually a pro at this, just met his team, a deputy, two state troopers and a police officer.  None of them are pros at chopping, but even amateurs can work fast.

"As you notice, even when we were done, you look at the bolts and nuts lying on the ground, not a whole lot of bolts and nuts lying around. The sheet metal is very light and they bolt it up against the underbody...what does it take to hold a fender on?" said Zimmer.

Once the car is apart it's now worth big money on the streets.  The number one stolen vehicle is actually a 1995 Honda Civic. Zimmer says this could be happening right under your nose.

"The idea behind this is to make information available to your viewing public.  You heard the ratchet; you heard the winning of the compressor and people talking about different things coming off the rest of it.  If you hear that in your neighborhood at 10:00 at night next door, this is probably what's going on. And your local police would be glad to hear from you, I know they would," said Zimmer.

As of November, 2006, the National Insurance Crime Bureau released their list of most stolen vehicles in the U.S. for 2005 (lists by state can be found at

1. 1995 Honda Civic

2. 1989 Toyota Camry

3. 1991 Honda Accord

4. 1994 Dodge Caravan

5. 1994 Chevrolet C/K pickup

6. 1997 Ford F-150

7. 2003 Dodge Ram

8. 1990 Acura Integra

9. 1988 Toyota pickup

10. 1991 Nissan Sentra