These Are The Most Common Stolen Items in America

Written By Jill Taylor

There’s a lot of money to be made from the regular items you use in your home or your office, and criminals know this all too well. In this light, here are 17 items you want to be extra careful with while handling, especially in public. 

Cash

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We’ll start with cash, which is the motive for theft in the first place. Cash in purses, on the floor, or in the wardrobe gives thieves direct value for their actions and is typically untraceable when stolen. It’s so much of an incentive that people will rob grocery stores and banks for it.  

Smartphones

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Whether it’s an iPhone or a Samsung, high-end smartphones typically have great value, both new and used. But this isn’t the only reason why they’re top targets. They are also easy to conceal and contain personal data that could be exploited by criminals to make even more money. According to Business Insider, your phone is mostly at risk in restaurants.

Laptops

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There’s an estimated one in ten chance of you being a victim of laptop theft, and, like smartphones, there are clear reasons for this. Laptops are expensive electronics that are easy to resell, and they also contain sensitive personal and even corporate data that could be exploited.

Credit and Debit Cards

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Credit and debit cards are popular mediums of financial fraud, as they can be used to make immediate purchases before they’re blocked or canceled. What’s more, especially with online transactions, criminals don’t even need the physical cards themselves but just the numbers on them. They steal from you without even knowing it. 

Motor Vehicle Parts

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On one hand, there’s the ever-booming spare parts market. On the other hand, vehicles are typically made from valuable metals like platinum, palladium, silver, and even gold in circuit boards. Thieves would love to make some money from all these, which puts cars parked in public or poorly lit areas at high risk.

Bicycles

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Bicycles are favorite targets for thieves because of the high demand for them—a trend that the BBC says boomed after the 2020 pandemic. They’re seamless to transport, and the fact that they’re often parked outside with nothing securing them makes stealing bicycles even easier.

Wallets

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Typically containing cash and credit cards, it’s pretty clear why wallets are a pickpocket’s dream acquisition. And there’s even more to gain. Personal IDs like social security cards and driver’s licenses are almost always in wallets, and these give criminals a chance to steal your identity for more devious operations. 

Designer Bags

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Designer bags are like wallets but with extra value. The bags themselves will fetch thieves a lot of money, and any cash, credit cards, or IDs found in them are only a plus. These bags are typically targeted through purse snatching operations, and an estimated 13,000 of these happen in the U.S. every year. 

Watches

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If you own a luxury watch, you aren’t safe from pickpockets or even armed robbers, and this isn’t just in the U.S. You may have heard the news of the ‘London Rippers,’ criminals in London reported by the Daily Mail to have gotten over 6,000 Rolexes off their victims. It’s a trend that’s expected to continue.

Jewelry

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Jewelry can easily fetch a thief thousands of dollars, and while it may be hard getting off you, pieces are typically easily accessible in drawers at home. Jewelry is also easy to carry and conceal, and it’s almost impossible to trace, especially if it’s a mass-produced piece. 

Power Tools

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It may be a surprise, but even power tools aren’t safe. Thieves know how expensive these tools can be, so it’s easier (financially) to just steal one. Power tools can also be pawned off in shops or online marketplaces for professionals and DIY enthusiasts. They’re also often left unsecured in garages and construction sites, making them easy targets. 

Gaming Consoles

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Consoles are in high demand and have great resale value within the gaming community. Thieves will go to great lengths to get their hands on them, even if it means taking them from living rooms, opening Amazon packages, or snatching them off trucks. This is especially true during peak seasons when new models have just been released.

Sports Equipment

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Sports equipment is also expensive (and valuable), especially specialized items like golf clubs and skis. They’re popular in the second-hand market and stored in unsecured places like garages, gym lockers, and outside vehicles—factors that give thieves the incentive to steal them. 

Perfumes and Colognes

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Reading a CNN story on Sephora, we learn that the luxury brand has removed perfumes “from store shelves and displays and replaced them with fragrance tester bottles.” Perfumes are so targeted in stores that businesses have resorted to locking them up behind glass, with only staff having access to them.

Sunglasses

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When we talk about sunglasses, we’re referring to designer brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Bvlgari. Thefting sunglasses is easy, as there isn’t much difficulty concealing and moving them, and thieves can be lucky because sunglasses are typically left unattended in open places like cafes. 

Music Speakers

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Whether it’s at the park or the beach, many people pay less attention to portable speakers, particularly when there isn’t any music blasting out of them. Since these speakers are specifically made to be seamless to carry, thieves have an easy way out with them, too. Speakers are so valuable that even high-end models installed in cars are unsafe.

Clothing and Accessories

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Like sunglasses and fragrances, your clothes are in more danger if they’re made from high-end, designer brands. The status symbol they represent creates a great resale market for them, both online and physically. Young people are also most likely to be involved here, as they often want to wear trendy outfits without the money to support this desire.

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