AUSTIN, Texas — Thieves aren’t just targeting catalytic converters this holiday season. Tailgate thefts in Texas are also on the rise.
“It’s disappointing,” said Craig Berlin. “And, it’s frustrating.”
Craig Berlin just learned the hard way how easy it is for a criminal to steal a tailgate.
“The guy just comes and basically detaches it and takes it with him,” said Berlin.
Video from a security camera shows what happened. A black car pulls up behind a row of stores on South Lamar. A man wearing a mask gets out and takes less than two minutes to remove the tailgate on an F-250.
“I know there are a lot of work trucks that people only use for work and they don’t drive them every day, so they’re sitting out in parking lots,” said Berlin.
That’s the case with the business owner’s Ford truck. It’s parked behind his store, but people come and go all day from the parking lot.
“Our staff was still here, and it wasn’t dark, and they came and did it in broad daylight. So, wow,” said Berlin.
The South Austin business owner installed security cameras after his storage shed and donation trailer was broken into during the coronavirus pandemic. They captured the crime itself, but the video didn’t reveal much about the criminal.
“He’s got a mask on, as far as I can tell. He has no license plates,” said Berlin. “The security cameras are not high resolution.”
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Tailgate thefts are on the rise. Texas and California have more of the thefts than any other states. The uptick is likely because it’s a quick crime and the payoff is much higher than it was in the past.
“With the tailgates they’re easy, they’re one piece and they’re more and more valuable because now they have back up cameras in them, so it’s not just a piece of metal. They’re also easily fenced,” said Berlin.
Berlin wanted to share his story to alert other truck owners that they need to install anti-theft locks to keep from having to spend up to a couple thousand dollars to replace a stolen tailgate.
“At the end of the day you take your medicine and move on and hope that you learned something even if it was the hard way,” said Berlin.