HOUSTON COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Thieves struck a Chevrolet dealership in Grapeland early Thursday morning and stole tires and rims from 16 vehicles.
The thieves were interrupted by officers from the Grapeland Police Department, according to a post on the Houston County Sheriff's Office Facebook page. Grapeland Police Chief Chuck Franklin said most of the vehicles hit at Cutshaw Chevrolet were pickups.
"They jack the whole truck up, take four tires and are gone before you know it," Franklin said.
Two vehicles with an unknown number of occupants fled the scene, according to the Houston County Sheriff's Office. Both vehicles were U-Haul rentals. One was a box van, and the other was a standard moving van.
"With our unit being out there and our officer patrolling it disturbed their operation and they got out of there," Franklin said.
Grapeland PD Officer Kyle Duren followed the U-Hauls south toward Crockett.
Duren caught up to the standard moving van, and the occupant bailed out, jumped a fence, and ran into a nearby wooded area. The U-Haul came to rest in a ditch, according to the Houston County Sheriff's Office.
If citizens observe a man wearing shorts walking along Highway 287 North, they are urged to call the Houston County Sheriff's Office at (936) 544-2862. The sheriff's office Facebook post also stated, “Do not attempt to apprehend or offer a ride to this person.”
Franklin said because the tires and rims were in the other U-Haul, none of the stolen property has been recovered at this time.
It is believed the wheels and tires are valued around $56,000.
Franklin said right now they have tracked the vehicles to a rental site in Houston and do not believe the suspects live in the area but may have ties to Houston County.
Anyone with any information about the thefts at Cutshaw Chevrolet is asked to call the Grapeland Police Department at (936) 687-5141.