CHICAGO (AP) – Car thefts are on the rise in Chicago, and authorities say young joyriders are to blame.

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Chicago police officials say motor vehicle thefts are up more than 22 percent through September, compared to the same period last year.

Police Sgt. Phil Cappitelli tells the Chicago Sun-Times that the increase appears mostly to be tied to younger thieves, who often take older model cars and drive them until they run out of gas. But Cappitelli says he’s also investigating reports of tow truck operators illegally hooking cars and taking them to scrap metal yards where they’re crushed for cash.

Police say there is some good news in the crime stats. Violent crime is down 11 percent, and property crimes such as burglary and arson have also fallen.

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