The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Police/Courts

June 17, 2014

Tailgate thieves hit two car lots

Thieves targeting tailgates have hit car dealerships on both sides of the state line.

Robert Ramey, general manager of Ramey Motors, said tailgates were stolen last week at their Princeton dealership, and two weeks ago at the Tazewell, Va., location.

Troopers with the West Virginia State Police Princeton detachment are investigating the thefts that occurred at the Princeton location, said Detachment Commander Sgt. D.W. Miller.

“They (tailgates) are in high demand and very expensive to replace,” Miller said. “They can have them off in a few seconds. No tools are needed.”

Miller said seven or eight tailgates, valued at $1,750 apiece, were stolen from the Princeton location.

“I think they are stealing it for the part,” Miller added. “I don’t think they’re cashing them in for the metal. Someone bringing in a truckload of tailgates should raise a red flag at the scrap yard.”

Miller said they have not experienced this many tailgate thefts in recent years.

“Fourteen or 15 years ago, there was a rash of tailgate thefts on Chevy trucks,” he said. “It went away, and now it’s picking back up.”

While the recent thefts involved vehicles at dealerships, Miller said the thefts can happen anywhere, and that vehicles parked on the street or even in a parking lot are vulnerable.

“Someone can pull up behind the vehicle and have the tailgate off in minutes,” he said.

Anyone with information on the tailgate thefts should contact the West Virginia State Police Princeton detachment at 304-425-2101.

— Contact Perry at sperry@bdtonline.com

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