About 10 p.m. Monday, a man parked his Chevrolet Silverado in his driveway in Keene. When he went to leave for work the next morning, his truck was sitting on blocks — his tires and wheels were gone.
The man was one of three victims in Keene this past week to have their tires and wheels stolen during the middle of the night from their Silverado.
Keene Police Chief Emmitt Jackson said tires from these types of trucks have become a hot commodity for thieves.
“In each of these offenses, the vehicle was lifted up by unknown means and placed on paving stones or rocks found in a neighbor’s yard,” he said. “All offenses are being done overnight while people are at home.”
The following areas were recently hit with tire theft:
• 2700 block of North Hills Terrace on Thursday.
• 200 block of Woodlawn Drive on Sunday.
• 3200 block of County Road 805 on Monday.
“My personal opinion is these people doing this must work in a tire shop or some kind of mechanical shop, because they are very professionally done,” Jackson said. “They have the equipment to do it fast without anyone noticing.”
If you live around these areas and have surveillance cameras, KPD Detective Tracey Glenn urges you to call her at email@example.com.
Cash rewards are also offered by the Johnson County Crime Stoppers if a tip leads to an arrest.
You may submit your tip to Crime Stoppers at 800-794-8477, 24 hours a day by the mobile app or at jccstexas.org. It is always 100 percent anonymous.
Not just Keene
Jessica Graves, public awareness coordinator for the Tri-County Auto Burglary & Theft Prevention Task Force, said theft of tires for Chevrolet Silverados is a growing problem across the county.
“Just in November, we have had four in Burleson,” she said. “One lady was hit on Nov. 9 and she had to get a rental car. They came back on Nov. 15 and hit her again on her rental car.”
Not including Keene’s recent thefts, Graves said 16 sets of tires between Burleson and Mansfield were reported stolen to the task force this year.
The task force was formed in 2011 by the Mansfield Police Department and later joined by he Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Burleson Police Department, Kennedale Police Department and the Tarrant County Constable Pct. 7 to target auto burglaries and auto thefts.
Mansfield Police Capt. Stan Davis, commander of the Tri-County Auto Theft Task Force, said when the group first formed in 2011, the city of Mansfield had more than $180,000 worth of wheel and tires stolen.
“It had declined significantly, but over the past year we have seen some of those numbers coming back,” he said. “We don’t know exactly where they all go. We do know some of them go to local online sale sites. There are also markets for them overseas and a lot of them get sold out of this area.”
Davis said while the thefts appear to be similar across Texas, it is not one group involved.
“There are many groups involved in it,” he said. “In most of these thefts, the suspects are not from this area. More than likely, the Keene suspects were from the Fort Worth/Dallas area.”
Unlike an actual vehicle, Davis said tires do not have serial numbers on them so they are difficult to track.
“Tire and wheel locks are a good thing to have, but unfortunately are defeatable,” he said. “These guys that are doing this have been successful in beating those locks.
“Security cameras are good to have, too, but the problem with is when it is dark they go to black and white infrared at night and you can’t tell what the person looks like. You can see that it is a person and that is about it.”
Not just tires
Jackson said it doesn’t matter what kind of car you drive, all vehicles are a potential target of theft.
Many jurisdictions report that keys left inside and doors unlocked are major factors in stolen and burglarized vehicles.
“Just last week a Ford F250 pickup, which had money and two firearms in it, was taken from the 2700 block of North Hills Terrace,” he said. “In this offense, the vehicle was left unlocked and the vehicle keys inside.”
To protect your vehicle, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles offers the following tips:
• Always lock your vehicle and take your keys.
• Never leave your car running and unattended.
• Park in a well-lit area.
• Take valuables with you when you are not in your vehicle.
• Keep valuables out of sight.
• Give parking attendants the ignition key only. Keep your trunk and glove box locked at all times. If possible, get separate keys for the ignition and the trunk and glove box.
• Install an anti-theft device. Many insurance companies may give you a discount for certain anti-theft devices.
Check with your agent for details.