by Joyce Tremel
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, some criminal comes up with a new way to rip people off.
Right now in Shaler, it seems the thieves are taking a break from the copper pipe and have moved on to auto parts theft. By auto parts, I don’t mean someone stealing hubcaps or taking the battery out of someone’s car. The thieves are taking bigger things, like tailgates off trucks. Or even better, tires and rims from cars.
This might not seem too odd except for the fact that the thieves are doing it in broad daylight from shopping center parking lots. Yes, it’s not even safe to go shopping. Last week we had a call from an elderly woman who went shopping in K-Mart. She was only in the store for fifteen minutes and when she went back to her car, the tires and rims were missing from one side of the car. The thief used a standard car jack and just left it in place. We had a similar call on Monday from the Eat ‘n Park across the street from K-Mart. No jack left in place this time—the frame was left sitting on an old tire.
Wouldn’t you think someone in the parking lot would have noticed the actor pulling up beside a car, removing the tires and rims, then taking off?
Wondering if this might be some kind of trend, I did a Google search. While these thefts do occur other places, Shaler seems to be unique. In other cities, stealing tires and rims is common, but the thieves target custom rims and expensive tires. The two cars here were a Ford Escort and a Pontiac Grand Prix with factory rims and cheap tires. And our thefts occurred mid-day, not overnight.
All this leaves me wondering why. Why would someone steal tires and rims? Is it money? Or something more sinister?