Car dealerships in Cheboygan and Galesburg, MI were the victims of major thefts last week. Thieves took the tires and rims off of several vehicles in each dealership. But these are just the latest in a string of thefts that have taken place over the past several months.
According to Cheboygan County, Inverness Township-Sheriff Clarmont, several dealerships from Southern and Mid-Michigan all the way up to Cheboygan have been victims of a theft ring. The thieves reportedly used jacks to lift the vehicles, and patio blocks to keep them elevated after the wheels were removed.
In total, approximately 36 tires and rims were taken. The total loss rings up in the thousands for the Cheboygan car dealership.
“At this time we believe we are the farthest north this ring has traveled. We are working with law enforcement agencies across the state. At this time we know the target vehicles are special edition or upgraded rims on Fords, Chryslers and Lincolns. In many of the larcenies across the state the GPS systems are also targeted,” Clarmont said in a public statement.
Clarmont added that he believes the same ring may be responsible for other thefts across the state. It’s been reported that the ring utilizes radio communication and vehicle lookouts to organize their crimes. More than 67% of burglaries can typically be prevented with the use of security technology, but that hasn’t stopped the tire thieves. Scoping out the situation beforehand has given them an organized approach that may already take security into account.
Security equipment certainly didn’t stop this theft ring from stealing tires and wheels from new Ford Explorers, Expeditions and F-150 pickup trucks parked and for sale at the Galesburg Ford dealership.
According to office manager Karen Bowdish, a total of seven Explorers and two Expeditions on the lot were left without wheels. Five other vehicles were missing lugnuts and one E-150 van was even left without its seats.
Police report that the theft occurred the evening of Wednesday, June 21 or the morning of Thursday, June 22 around midnight. The sheriff’s office is currently investigating the theft, but as of right now there aren’t many leads. If caught, the individuals responsible for these thefts will likely join the 1% of civil cases that go to trial.
As such, anyone with pertinent information about any of the car dealership thefts is strongly encouraged to contact the Kalamazoo sheriff’s office as soon as possible.