By Jeremy Ross

(CBS) — Who’s stealing mini vans?

It’s a big problem on Chicago’s Northwest Side. So much so that Chicago police put out a community alert detailing seven locations in Jefferson and Portage Parks where the older-model Dodge Caravans have been swiped since Aug. 18.

Joe Betancourt of Joe’s Expert Auto Service says the older vehicles can be stolen easily, within seconds, because they lack the type of computer chips that are required to start newer vehicles.

In fact, all that’s required for thieves to drive the older Caravans is a screwdriver and brute force.

Betancourt says the individual parts of a Caravan can sell for about $4,000.

Chicago police say the thefts have taken place day and night.

If you own the targeted vehicle, park it in a well-lit area, use a steering wheel lock or get a good car alarm.