After going in and out of vogue a few years ago, high-intensity xenon headlights are enjoying a revival among North Jersey car burglars, says the Newark Star-Ledger. They’re getting yanked out of cars in suburban driveways, city streets, commuter-rail parking lots, shopping malls, hotels, and rock shows. “It’s an epidemic in the northern part of the state,” Newark Police Director Anthony Ambrose said. Police in several jurisdictions have made two busts, both in Newark, of people believed to be part of small burglary crews specializing in xenon lights. They have also started undercover investigations of body shops. “We’re still trying to figure out where the lights end up,” Ambrose said.
Xenon lights, which give off a bright bluish light, are becoming standard in many luxury cars, because they supposedly make it easier to see in poor driving conditions. Some new models are equipped with xenon lights that adjust according to the car’s angle on the road and the movement of its steering wheel. Installing a pair of xenon lights can cost up to $2,000. Police say recent arrests indicate that thieves are selling the headlights for resale at body shops at cut-rate prices — as low as $80. On Ebay, the prices range from $125 to $1,700. The bulbs make easy money. “But who’s stealing? Who’s reselling? Who are they working for? That’s the mystery,” said Newark police Sgt. Luke Laterza, who has hundreds of seized xenon headlights in the department’s property room.