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Profile America — Sunday, July 20th. It took a while after the invention of the gas-powered automobile by Karl Benz in Germany in 1886 for someone to steal the wheels. The first stolen car is said to be of a French aristocrat's Peugeot in Paris in 1896. In this country, the first auto theft is believed to have occurred in St. Louis in 1905. But this slow beginning has become an all-too-robust present. With July and August being the peak months for automotive thefts, this is National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month. The goal is to raise public awareness of the danger and remind drivers to above all take their keys and lock their vehicles. Nationally, a motor vehicle is stolen on average every 44 seconds, and safeguarding against this threat contributes to the insurance industry's annual revenue of over $1.7 trillion. Profile America is in its17th year as a Public Service of the U.S. Census Bureau.