Tailgate theft on the rise in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau says Fresno is 5th on it's list of cities with the highest number of tailgate theft claims.

It took Mario Herrera just a matter of seconds to show us how to remove a tailgate. Just in the last few days. The truck supply store owner in Northwest Fresno has fielded a number of phone calls from customers who are asking about tailgate thefts, and asking what to do..

"If the tailgate has actually been stolen, there's no replacement parts. You will have to go back to the dealer and purchase the factory original tailgate," said Mario Herrera, Pick-Em Up Trucks. New tailgates cost upwards of a thousand dollars.

Sergeant Tim Tietjen with the Career Criminal Auto Theft Team says there's no pattern to this recent rise in thefts. He also says criminals don't discriminate, any type of truck will do.

"There's something we're looking into, we see them a lot at chop shops, we see a lot of tailgates as something they're bringing to these chop shops or requesting. Very common," said Tim Tietjen.

Police suggest locking your tailgate, if it has a lock. If it doesn't, they suggest you purchase one. Herrera says he has options for as little as $20, and for as high as $200. "So $20 you go and spend in a gambling machine, invest in preventing your vehicle from getting ripped off."

While police may not be able to explain this recent new up-tick in tailgate thefts, they say the good news is general auto theft in Fresno is down. "The last 14 days we're at a 29.5% decrease in auto theft and 28.1 in burglary. We're making huge strides and seeing bad guys stay in jail which is very encouraging," said Sergeant Tim Tietjen.

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