Thieves are targeting tailgates in broad daylight

Posted: Updated:
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Crooks are starting to get more brazen, committing their crimes in broad daylight.

And the latest trend in theft? Thieves are stealing tailgates from pickup trucks.

Vehicle theft is a big problem in Arizona. But a lot of crooks are now just targeting parts, like tailgates, which they can quickly sell. 

The crimes are happening not just at night, but in broad daylight.

Thieves sneak up to someone's pickup truck, then take off with their tailgate.

Daniel Frakes showed us how someone stole the tailgate off of one of his company's work trucks a few weeks ago.

The crime and the crook were caught on surveillance video.

But it took the thief just a minute or two, and he was gone.

"It seems like they've been targeting a lot more commercial vehicles than personal vehicles because commercial vehicles have a lot of safety features with backup cameras and stuff like that," said Daniel Frakes, a victim of tailgate theft.  

The latest crime stats show tailgate thefts in the Phoenix area are up 15 percent in the past year. Arizona ranks No. 4 nationwide.

"It just happens on what's available," said Fred Zumbo, who heads up the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority.

He says there are a number of reasons why tailgate theft is such a big problem here.

"We have a lot of pickup trucks in Arizona, and these trucks are so large they don't fit in garages of newer homes, so people have to leave trucks in driveways, which exposes tailgates to theft," said Zumbo.

The tailgates are often re-sold over the internet for a couple hundred bucks, even though they can cost truck owners two to three thousand dollars to replace.

But there are some simple things consumers can do to protect their tailgates.

  •     If there's a lock, make sure it's locked.
  •     Back the vehicle up when you park.
  •     And keep the vehicle in a garage whenever possible.

Another thing you can do is buy a hose clamp, which only costs a few bucks at any auto parts store. You can use it like a zip tie and attach it to your tailgate's hinge, so a thief can't just walk away with the back of your truck.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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