Roseville police say that they have seen a rise in stolen pickup tailgates – an easy theft for the criminal and an expensive loss for the truck owner.
“We’ve received 16 reports of stolen tailgates this year, but seven of those reports came in the past five weeks, so these kind of thefts are on the increase,” said Dee Dee Gunther, police spokeswoman.
Theft victims estimate replacement cost of the back-up camera-equipped tailgates at $2,500 to $3,500 each.
The thieves are targeting trucks in apartment complex parking lots overnight. On the night of Oct. 21-22, tailgate thieves hit three trucks in an east Roseville apartment complex in the 8800 block of Sierra College Boulevard, and one nearby in an apartment complex in the 1400 block of Rocky Ridge Drive.
There have also been recent tailgate thefts reported from apartment complex lots in the 700 block of Gibson Drive near the Galleria mall, and the 1000 block of Cirby Oaks Way near the center of town.
“The most popular type of truck hit is the Ford F-150, followed by Toyota Tundras and Tacomas, all equipped with back-up cameras,” Gunther said.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau notes that nationwide tailgate theft rose from 831 in 2012 to 1,090 claims in 2013.
Frank Scafidi, an NICB spokesman, said that it take much less time to steal a tailgate than to steal a car.
“Gone in 60 seconds? You can probably steal six tailgates in 60 seconds,” Scafidi said.
While the number of thefts is low, they still vex owners who are faced with installing anti-theft devices after spending a bunch of money replacing their tailgates. Another way to prevent theft is to park in a more secure way, either in the garage or backed up against a wall.
“The best prevention is parking the vehicle inside the garage at night, but I realize that’s not possible in all locations, or for very large pickups,” Gunther said. “As always, we encourage people to call 911 immediately if they see any suspicious activity, like someone loitering in a parking lot in the middle of the night, or tampering with vehicles.”
The life of a tailgate can be bumpy. Tailgates can be dented in back-up accidents or when something in the truck bed slides toward the back of the vehicle. Owners then may look for a replacement.
The NICB notes that replacement tailgates are in high demand and can be purchased the legitimate way from car dealers. However, the high cost of replacing tailgates has sparked a black market demand with stolen tailgates showing up on eBay and Craigslist, according to the NICB.
Others are simply sold for the value of the metal at scrap yards.
The top three states with tailgate thefts in 2012 were Texas, California and Arizona.
The NICB notes that not only do the thefts occur in neighborhoods from trucks parked in driveways or at the curb, but tailgates have also been stolen from dealer lots.
Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.