SANGER, California (KSEE/KGPE) – Tailgates are being stolen at an “alarming” rate throughout the U.S., the Sanger Police Department said, and they want to raise awareness to prevent additional losses.
The Police Department said the reason for the thefts is that a tailgate replacement can cost up to $3,000 creating a high demand for tailgates on the black market.
Tailgates are designed to be removed easily by the owner, making it just as easy for thieves to remove them, the Police Department said.
The most popular trucks being targeted are Fords, Toyotas, Dodges and Chevrolets, and those equipped with rear back-up cameras are especially being targeted due to their value.
The Police Department said it only takes 30 seconds to remove a tailgate.
Most tailgates are not labeled with identification numbers, making it almost impossible to determine the owner if recovered, the Police Department said.
To that end, the Police Department suggests practicing the following safety tips to help secure your tailgate, or assist in its return to you if found:
- First, if the truck’s tailgate has an integrated lock, use it. If a tailgate can’t be opened, it can’t be stolen as easily.
- If it doesn’t have a lock, get one, or you can attach a simple hose clamp or other theft-prevention device around the pivot point of the tailgate, which may protect the tailgate from theft or serve as a deterrent (available for purchase at some auto part stores or online).
- Secure your vehicle in your garage if possible.
- When able, park your truck in a position that prevents the tailgate from being opened.
- Etch the truck’s vehicle identification number (VIN), license plate number or another personal identification number into the tailgate; this will help law enforcement identify the owner if the tailgate is recovered during a police investigation.