'Criminal pit crew' steals wheels from two dozen vehicles at local dealership

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MARLIN, Texas (KWTX) Marlin police are investigating after someone stole the wheels and tires from more than two-dozen vehicles at a car dealership.

(Photo by Neal Klaeser)

"In this case, they were very sneaky," said Chief Mike Pesses.

The theft occurred before dawn Saturday at Apple Sport Ford at 1204 North Business Highway in Marlin.

In all, wheels and tires were stolen from 26 vehicles.

"They bring all their equipment with them and they will remove the tires, leave the vehicles sitting on blocks, and they're outta there," said Pesses. "My best guess would be that this is a professional organization and not somebody here locally."

The President/Owner of Apple Sport Auto Group, Sam Sinno, said he wasn't entirely surprised because dealerships around the state have been experiencing similar situations.

"I was disappointed but not completely shocked," said Sinno. "We can't dwell on it all day long, it's something you gotta keep going on and keep doing."

The loss is estimated at $100,000.

"They'll be some financial burden stuff, but we're going to make it the cost of doing business," said Sinno.

The dealer said it could have been worse as the criminals didn't go after the most expensive parts, instead hitting the vehicles in the back of the dealership as not to be seen.

"It was probably because we were rural and a little bit out of the way and not a lot of drive by traffic," said Sinno.

Pesses said it can happen anywhere.

"These groups hit dealerships whether they're rural, whether in the city, they're just a criminal organization that will take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself," said Pesses.

"Extra lighting, backup generators should those lights be cut out, video - anything that they (dealerships) can do to help us is always appreciated."

There were no security cameras at the time, but Sinno said they were already changing policies to help better secure the property.

"If somebody wants something they're gonna get it, we're just a little harder on deterring them," said Sinno.

The dealership does have insurance, according to Sinno, who said they hoped to have everything worked out with the insurers on Tuesday so they could have the vandalized vehicles available for sale by the weekend.

Pesses said his detectives would be contacting other agencies in the state investigating similar crimes.