A rash of tire thefts has been reported in Downtown Memphis. Not only are the thieves taking the rubber, but the costly rims as well.
They can cost as much as $10,000 for a set of them. The average is around $5,000 and thieves have been hijacking cars from all over Shelby County and taking these expensive wheels and tires.
One gang of wheel bandits, though, may have stolen its last wheel.
One theft case involved an SUV stripped of its wheels and left sitting on the ground. The SUV was parked downtown over the weekend. When the owner came back, he found it parked, right on the ground.
The sad part is you can't pull and SUV up on a truck with out damaging the rotors and causing even more expense than the missing wheels and tires, not to mention lost time in trying to get the SUV to a place where new wheels and tires can be put on.
Police have been getting reports of stolen wheels and tires from one end of Shelby County to the other. It's not just here in Memphis. It is going on all over the country. Expensive wheels are hot and apparently so to is the crime of boosting them.
Another victim of the wheel and tire thieves came to town from Pennsylvania to pay a little visit. Only when it was time to leave, they found their car jacked up on blocks but no wheels or tires.
Just like in the other cases the lug nuts were left in neat little piles. But as careful as the wheel and tire thieves were they were not careful enough. Someone grabbed a license plate number and things quickly unraveled for the thieves.
"we got some information from one of the downtown parking garages," Major Try Shull of Memphis Police said. "We were able to ascertain a suspect vehicle, ran a tag number associated with the tag number and as the case unfolded. We were able to arrest two suspects and recovered some wheels and tires."
Of all the wheels and tires stolen none were equipped with wheel locks. FOX13 News talked with tire experts and they say while wheel locks are a deterrent if someone wants a wheel badly enough nothing can stop them.
Major Shull said two suspects are in custody and likely will be charged with grand theft. A third suspect remains at-large.
If you can assist police you are urged to contact CrimeStoppers at 901-528-CASH.