A professional team is believed to be behind the massive theft of wheels and tires at Wagner Cadillac over the weekend.
The car dealer was hit sometime Saturday night. The tires and wheels of 20 vehicles were stolen, and the vehicles were all left on blocks.
"We have never seen a theft of this magnitude in Tyler, but this is quite common around the state and country," Tyler Police Detective Gary King said this morning.
King, who is assigned to the East Texas Auto Theft Task Force, was on scene at Wagner gathering information this morning from the dealership in hopes to recover the property. He said more than likely the wheels and tires, some valued at more that $1,000 per wheel, have already been moved to a large city.
"We had a similar theft at a couple of dealerships in Mineola last year, but we caught that person and put them in jail. They were only doing two or three cars at a time. Nothing like this," he said.
King said he believes the team of thieves had previously visited the dealership and knew the security weaknesses before making their move.
"This was not some weekend thieves, but was an coordinated and well-organized group. They either used a large rental truck or some type of box trailer to haul all of these tires and wheels away," he said.
King said the team could use cordless impact wrenches to remove the wheels quickly with little noise. These impact wrenches are very powerful and would be easier to use than something requiring an air compressor, he said.
"Something this big, they had probably been to the lot and checked it out once or twice. You don't just come onto a lot and do something this big blindly," he said.
King said he recommeends car dealers revisit their security procedures, and if they do not have surveillance video systems, they should really think about installing them.