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Thieves stealing pickup truck tailgates, selling for thousands

Posted at 11:24 PM, Sep 30, 2016

A new crime trend is leaving truck owners with thousands of dollars in bills.

Tailgates are being lifted right off the backs of pickup trucks, and they can be worth up to $2,000.
 
"I was mad about it but I'm glad they didn't steal the whole truck," said Ace Frescas.

Frescas' tailgate was taken this week near his home in Mountain's Edge.

Laurel Grantham lives around the block from Frescas, and she says her husband discovered their missing tailgate.

"I was shocked," Grantham said. "This is not something you would expect in this area. Haven't heard of it happening around here."

Patrick Gruttadauria, an employee at Sudden Impact Auto Body, says a customer comes in at least once a month for a replacement.

"They're so simple to take off and they can be valued at a lot of money, somewhere from $1,200 to $2,000," said Gruttadauria.

There are ways to prevent a tailgate from being stolen. Perhaps the simplest way is to buy what's called a hose clamp. Hose clamps are essentially metal locks that come in multiple sizes, clip right on to the tailgate and cost about a dollar each.

Grantham's truck had a lock built in, but she says she never thought there was a reason to use it.

"It's unbelievable and apparently it happens so quickly, you don't even realize it's happened," she said.

A quick search on Craigslist showed several tailgates for sale.

Experts recommend buying a new one through a dealership.