LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A rectangular piece ofmetal on trucks is now one of the most sought after items by thieves. In thelast two months, Lufkin police have had 16 reported cases of tailgates beingstolen. Detective J. B. Smith said there is a possibility that number is largerwith many more unreported thefts taking place.
July 30 was the mostrecent case when Jo Anne Davidson and her friend both had their tailgates rippedoff while they were inside Jim Anne's club.
"It just blew mymind. How could somebody take something," said Davidson.
To replace the tailgateand rear view camera that was cut off won't be cheap.
"It's going to beroughly around $3,000," said Davidson.
Davidson who uses hertruck for her business says the thieves won't even get a fraction of what thetailgate is worth.
"We work hard for ourmoney and others work hard for their money and someone just comes in and steals,"said Davidson. "It's not right."
The sheriff's departmentis also on high alert.
"We haven't seen thatmany in the county," said Angelina County Sheriff Greg Sanches. "We are awareof it and that's why we are staying very proactive on our patrols."
Law enforcement says thebest way to stop crimes like this is to have a lock or put a special mark onthe tailgate for identification purposes.
Even with all the safetymeasures that can be taken, experts say once a tailgate is stolen it is rarelyrecovered.
"A lot of these guysare taking them to the big city and running them through craigslist and stuff,"said Tim Duke, owner of A-1 Auto Salvage.
Law enforcement willcontinue their efforts to find them.
Both Sheriff Sanches and Detective Smith withbelieve that having watchful eyes is also just as important as any lock oridentification markers on tailgates. If you know anything about the recentthefts you are asked to call Lufkin police.