An increase in tailgate thefts in Tarrant and Parker County has police asking residents to take prevention measures.

Over the past six to eight weeks, the Tarrant Regional Auto Crimes Task Force noticed an increase in tailgate thefts, said spokesman Sgt. Matt Pedersen. The targeted trucks appear to be models from 2010 and newer. He said thieves are targeting white and U.S. manufactured trucks like Ford, Dodge, Chevrolet and GMC.

Pederson did not provide specific figures for the increase but said several agencies reported increased criminal activity in recent weeks.

Experienced thieves can get a tailgate off a truck in as little as 30 seconds, Pedersen said. Taking a tailgate can be relatively easy because many are only attached by a few cables.

The thieves can then sell the tailgate for a profit of $200 to $800, costing the owner thousands to replace the tailgate.

This by no means is a new trade, it kind of fluctuates, Pedersen said. We ve seen tailgate thefts, each year they come up. This particular trend has sustained for a longer amount of time.

The task force spans seven counties including: Tarrant, Parker, Wise, Somervell, Hood, Palo Pinto and Jack.

According to a study by theNational Insurance Crime Bureau,Texas had the most tailgate theft claims in the country. Its figures say there 451 claims filed between 2006 and 2012. Dallas ranked as the third highest city at 51 tailgate thefts.

It is difficult to identify where the tailgates come from once they reach a chop shop or other business because the tailgates do not have a vehicle identification number, Pedersen said.

The task force has not identified any persons of suspect, Pedersen said.

More than likely being committed by sophisticated criminal rings, Pedersen said.

Tailgate thefts can be prevented by the following methods:

  1. Lock it by using the existing, manufacturer s lock or investing in an after-market locking device that prevents the tailgate s removal.
  2. Park it in well-lit areas, where it can monitored from inside your residence, in a garage or in a manner that prevents the tailgate from being opened.
  3. Mark it by engraving the vehicle identification number (VIN).

Contact Crime Stoppers at (817) 469-TIPS (8477) to report individuals suspected of committing tailgate thefts.
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