DAVENPORT, Iowa - Stolen cars are a growing problem in the Quad Cities.
Since January 2017, Davenport police have reported 235 cars stolen. 207 of them have been recovered as of May 2017.
Sometimes the vehicles are never found, others are recovered and damaged. But some are found with no damage at all.
But Davenport police warn there still could be hidden dangers.
Police say most suspects steal cars to commit drug crimes. Drug residue can be left behind in the car's seats, ceiling and floors. Methamphetamine can also cling to car surfaces and seep into someone’s skin.
Even if physical damage isn’t present, police recommend owners get their cars checked out by an officer and have it professionally cleaned.
After a stolen car is found, officers ask owners if they can inspect the car for evidence and finger prints to help them find a possible suspect. But, sometimes owners opt-out of an inspection, so the cars go untouched.
“Owners receive their car "as is" if they choose not to have an officer inspect the car. So there could be dangers involved. Firearms, narcotics and personal identification could all be found in the vehicle,” said Jeffery Bladel with Davenport Police.
Bladel suggests owners look through their car when they get it back but say to avoid reaching into places they cannot see, then get a deep clean on the car. If you come across any suspicious items, notify police.
“Take precautions for you and your family. These items could be harmful to your family,” added Bladel.
Officers also recommend checking for the right license plate when you get your car back. Bladel says sometimes suspects swap license plates and owners end up with the wrong ones. Police recommend working with the DMV to get new ones.