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Car thieves' 10 favorite luxury rides

The most stolen luxury car in America is a Mercedes model, but BMW, Cadillac, and Lexus models also made the list of thieves' favorite luxury cars. 

By Richard ReadGuest blogger / August 3, 2013

Workers on the production lines of the Mercedes C-class at the Mercedes plant in Sindelfingen, Germany.The compact C-class is a favorite target for car thieves.

Bernd Weißbrod/dpa/AP/File

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The Highway Loss Data Institute recently reported on the Ford F-250 pickup's popularity among car thieves. But as nice as the F-250 can be, the National Insurance Crime Bureau knows that some brand-conscious baddies have a taste for high-end marques. And so, it's published a list of the ten luxury rides that car thieves love.

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To gather its data, the NICB looked at auto thefts reported over four calendar years: 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. According to the organization, 4,384 luxury vehicles were stolen during that period.

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To add some nuance to its analysis, the NICB divided cars into three segments: compact luxury, mid-sized luxury, and premium luxury. Between 2009 and 2012, 2,150 compact luxury cars were stolen -- considerably more than the 1,734 mid-sized luxury cars and the 500 premium luxury cars that went missing. (Though the NICB doesn't say so, we'd guess that compacts were most popular with thieves because they're cheaper and thus, more numerous than mid-size and premium models.)

And so, the moment you've all been waiting for -- the 10 most-stolen luxury rides:

1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class (compact) -- 485 thefts
 2. BMW 3-Series (compact) -- 471 thefts
 3. Infiniti G-Series (compact) -- 405 thefts
 4. Mercedes-Benz E-Class (mid-size) -- 381 thefts
 5. Cadillac CTS (mid-size) -- 326 thefts
 6. BMW 5-Series (mid-size) -- 256 thefts
 7. Lincoln MKZ (mid-size) -- 226 thefts
 8. Acura TSX (compact) -- 190 thefts
 9. Lexus IS (compact) -- 177 thefts
 10. Mercedes-Benz S-Class (premium) -- 163 thefts

 The NICB also released a list of the most popular states for car thieves to ply their trade. Chances are, you can guess the top four without looking, but just so you know:

1. California
 2. Florida
 3. New Jersey
 4. New York
 5. Michigan
 6. Texas
 7. Georgia
 8. Illinois
 9. Pennsylvania
 10. Maryland

The NICB found that recovery rates on stolen luxury vehicles was fairly high -- at least compared to mass-market rides. On average, 83.7 percent of the vehicles stolen during the study period were recovered.

That said, some cars fared poorer than others. The Infiniti G-Series had the highest number of unrecovered vehicles (83 of 405). Two Mercedes-Benz models often went missing for good, too: the E-Class (80 of 381 unrecovered) and the C-Class (78 of 485). 

Curiously, though fewer premium models were stolen than others, premiums were far less likely to be recovered. Among compact and mid-size luxury vehicles, just 14.3 percent and 13. 5 percent remained unrecovered at the end of the study. With premium vehicles, the 34.4 percent remained at-large.

For the complete NICB report, check out this PDF

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