According to the Los Angeles ABC affiliate, thieves stole the seats in the dead of night after disabling the lot's light posts and breaking into the vehicles through their rear windows. At that point, a couple of simple latches securing each third row of seats to the interiors were all that stood between the thieves and what is estimated to be about $48,000 in stolen goods. According to the report, the seats are then usually sold on Craigslist and eBay.
Simi Valley Police Commander Stephanie Shannon says, "Third-row-seat thefts are a growing problem throughout the state of California and across the country," leading one reporter to state, "[Third-row seats are] the car radio for the new millennium." Unfortunately, no actual stats on the problem are cited as proof that the problem is growing. One might think this type of theft is actually less of a problem than it used to be, given that the full-size body-on-frame SUV segment – the type of vehicle where removable third row seats are most common – isn't as robust as it once was. However, it could be just that thieves are now catching on to the trend, and either way, it's still a problem.
Steve Gaines, owner of the affected Simi Valley Chevy dealership, says that he's since installed special locks to better secure the seats inside his SUVs, a move that owners may want to consider to protect themselves from such thefts.
Watch the video included below, and watch a similar report on Yahoo News, for more information on the growing problem.