Local

How quickly can thieves steal your wheels?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

We have some vehicle thieves in action caught on video, and a lesson in how little time it takes for you to become one of their victims. Now there are things you can do to protect yourself.

With his SUV off being repaired, Brent Taylor has the cinder blocks to remind him of the crime that happened here early Tuesday morning. He peeked out his window to discover this.

"It's very frustrating, pretty angry when you first notice it, then it kind of turns into disbelief," said Taylor.

Not only had his 2008 GMC Yukon been stripped of its tires and rims and left on the cinder blocks, but the entire crime was also recorded, courtesy of the camera mounted on Taylor's balcony.

"It's hard to watch somebody doing that to your car," Taylor said.

In the video you can see two guys working on the SUV, only stopping to hide from passing cars.

"It is pretty brazen for them to do that with other people driving by," said Taylor.

They stole the driver's side wheels first, then moved to the passenger's side. You can see them rolling the tires away, remove the jack and then move along. HPD Officer Jim Woods says he isn't surprised.

"If they show up with the right equipment or the right tools, they can have those tires off the car in 5 minutes or less," Officer Woods said.

In this case, it took 25 minutes. Taylor says this is the third time in a month his SUV has been a target. It is a popular model among thieves. According to HPD's September Top 10 list of stolen vehicles, GMC trucks come in at number 6. Protecting them, Officer Woods says, is sometimes as simple as hiding them.

"People will turn around and they'll have a garage and store a couple thousand dollars worth of stuff and they've got a $30,000 vehicle out in the driveway," Officer Woods said.

Taylor says he will find another place to park his vehicle. He encourages others to keep an eye out for their neighbors.

"It's frustrating to see cars drive by at 2am and nothing was reported," said Taylor.

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