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Fighting Back: Wheel Thefts Spike in North Austin

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 05:07 PM CDT

Since December, 29 cars In North Austin have had their tires ripped off, according to police.

The parking garage at the Domain was hit early Tuesday morning. Police say a Mazda hatchback had its tires and rims stolen. The only thing left behind was the lug nuts and the car on cinder blocks.

Detective Dustin Lee says they have not been able to catch the criminals.

“They can dust the wheel well to determine if there are any fingerprints there,” Lee said.

He tells us there is no trend to what types of wheels are being taken. Here are some cars that have had their wheels stolen: Nissan Altima, GMC Yukon, Toyota Hylander, Nissan 350Z, BMW, Infiniti, Mazda, Honda CRV.

Lee says these thieves are stealing from whatever is easiest.

Hub Cap Annie is a business that specializes in wheels. Manager Tim Sanner says the market is hot for used rims and tires.

“We sell this one used for $350 and it runs new about $750 from Ford,” Sannar said.

He demonstrated how fast two people can take off all four tires on a Toyota Solara. It took 45 seconds.

Police say the victim’s property is ending up on Craigslist or sold on the street.

Sannar says they buy and sell wheels. He tells us he fights back against criminals by taking down every person’s information and a description of what they sell.

As for car owners, Sannar suggests buying a specialized key for your wheels. The cost is about $25.

“Say all five lug nuts on each wheel will have one different key,” Sanner said.

By Christie PostFighting Back: Wheel Thefts Spike in North Austin

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