Spate of Truck Tailgate Thefts in San Fernando Valley

August 17, 2006

Los Angeles: Los Angeles police detectives want owners of American made trucks, especially those owners who live in the San Fernando Valley, to be aware of tailgate thefts.

All five of the LAPD San Fernando Valley police divisions have experienced tailgate thefts sporadically, but Mission Division has had an unusually high number in the last week. Thirty-six tailgates have been removed from trucks so far this year; nine taken between Wednesday, August 9 and Sunday, the thirteenth.

Some newer models of trucks have tailgate locks to deter thefts, but most trucks do not. "Owners can protect themselves by installing after-market tailgate locks," said LAPD spokesman Lieutenant Paul Vernon. "The locks cost about $25, versus the cost of a replacement tailgate for $1,000."

Tailgates do not have serial or identification numbers, so thieves can easily sell them to unscrupulous repair shops. Owners can also increase the likelihood of getting a stolen tailgate returned by etching the truck vehicle identification number or the owner’s license number on the tailgate.

The most commonly targeted trucks have been model year 2000 and newer Fords, Chevrolets, Dodges, and GMCs.

Anyone with information on suspects or leads is requested to contact Mission Auto Detectives at 818-838-9810. On weekends and during off-hours, call the 24-hour toll free number at the Detective Information Desk, at 1-877-LAWFULL (1-877-529-3855).