Land Rover's iconic Defender is now out of production, which means that there will never be more of the original icons on the road than there are today.
Thieves, it turns out, have taken notice.
Wards Auto reports that Defender thefts are up a staggering 75 percent since production ceased earlier this year.
It isn't clear just why thieves are after Defenders so aggressively, but the fact that production has ceased means interest in the vehicles has risen. And given their simplicity—their basic design dates back decades—Defenders are relatively easy for thieves to make off with.
2013 Land Rover Defender
NFU Mutual, a rural insurance agency in the United Kingdom, reports that more than 500 Defenders were stolen in their home country last year. Many of those were eventually exported to other markets, making it difficult for police to track them. It's possible that some even came to the United States.
NFU recommends marking various parts, like panels and glass, with a vehicle's serial number. Additionally, it says a tracking device can help recover a stolen Defender before it leaves the country.
Land Rover produced Defenders from 1983, when they were launched with a different nameplate, until January of this year, when the last model rolled off the line. Although the model was updated several times throughout its lifespan, many parts remained interchangeable across the generations.