Thieves target pickup trucks for spare tires, tailgates, police say

Wheel lock can prevent people from falling victim to crooks

OPA-LOCKA, Fla. – Police are searching for the thieves who stole the spare tire from a man's Ford pickup truck earlier this week in broad daylight.

Jose Rosello said he was outraged when he saw surveillance video of the crime that happened Monday afternoon.

"I couldn't even finish watching it. I got so upset," he said. 

The video shows the crooks cutting through the support cables underneath Rosello’s Ford F-150 and grabbing his spare tire as the vehicle was parked outside of his job in Opa-locka.

"(I had) no idea," Rosello said. "I would've found out the day I went to put on a flat tire and there would've been nothing for me to put on."

The same crime was also reported this week at a Budget rental car center in Pembroke Pines involving different thieves. 

Video of the most recent theft shows a guy loitering. He then puts on gloves and heads to the back of a parked pickup truck before removing a spare tire and placing it in his own car.

The same guy is believed to have used a U-haul truck to pull off similar thefts in July, August and September. Each incident was caught on camera, and each involved a female accomplice who acted as a lookout.

"It's not a surprise. They've been doing it for years," Andre Guthrie, of Stirling Tires, said. 

Guthrie runs Stirling Tires in Dania Beach and says there's a quick solution.

"It's basically a lock you apply to the wheel that requires a key for you to take it off. So without that key, you cannot get to take that wheel off basically," he said. 

"So even if the cable is snapped, you won't be able to remove the spare tire?" Local 10 News reporter Terrell Forney asked.

"It makes it that much harder," Guthrie said. 

Police said thieves are also stealing the entire tailgate from pickup trucks. But the simple lock that costs just under $20 can prevent car owners from falling victim to these crooks.

"There's really no specific time other than it's after hours,” Pembroke Pines police Capt. Al Xiques said. "Sometimes it’s early evening and sometimes it's during the night, and these types of crimes are crimes of opportunity."

The crime of opportunity could cost Rosello $500 to replace the parts stolen from his truck.

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