True Crime #18

It took just a few seconds to lift the tailgate and steal it.

The 2006 Dodge Ram sat, as usual, in the front driveway of Timothy MacLarty’s home. The next morning, the truck’s tailgate was missing.

“I went home Saturday night, and the next morning, my tailgate was gone,” MacLarty says. “They just lifted it off the truck and stole it.”

The tailgate could be removed quickly, he says, and probably sold quickly, too. MacLarty says nothing else was stolen, but the theft was a major frustration since he had to file an insurance claim and buy a new tailgate.

“I don’t leave anything in my car in Oak Cliff because there’s a lot of thieving going on there,” he says. “They’re real easy to steal. It takes about 10 seconds to lift them off the truck and steal. I’m sure they took it and sold it for a couple hundred bucks to buy crack or whatever they’re on, but it costs about $1,000 to replace.”

Dallas Police Deputy Chief Rick Watson of the Southwest Patrol Division says there are a couple of ways a criminal can make a quick buck with a stolen tailgate.

“They’ll take them to a body shop and say, “Hey, I have this for sale. What will you give me for it?” he says.

Another option to sell the tailgate might be at an area flea market. A tailgate’s lack of serial or VIN numbers also are a hindrance to police efforts. From Jan. 1 to the end of June in the Southwest Division alone, there have been 63 of these types of thefts.

“It’s almost impossible to track or retrieve them,” Watson says.

But there is an option for those concerned their tailgate could possibly be stolen. Some truck accessory companies offer replacement handles that include keyed locks for the tailgate. Many newer truck models also include tailgate locks.
 


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