Costly crime trend: Certain vehicles being targeted for tires, rims

HONOLULU (KHON2) - A family living near Salt Lake got a rude awakening over the weekend.

The tires and rims on their SUV were stolen right from their driveway.

The theft happened in a military housing community and the family was sleeping when it happened.

We're told the thieves appear to be targeting a popular model driven on the island.

"Ten years ago, I used to leave my car with the windows down and stuff and nothing ever happened and now it's like I don't know," Angel Medina-Martinez said.

Medina-Martinez woke up Sunday morning to find the tires and rims from his 2014 Toyota 4Runner gone, and the lug nuts scattered on the ground.

"When you think about that, you think about people stealing expensive wheels and we had the factory wheels on it," he said. "That false sense of security and then it happens and then you're like what the heck." 

I'm told what happened to Medina-Martinez isn't unusual. 

"We don't get them often like on a daily basis but usually when it happens, it's a lot at once," Amber Le, the owner of Liberty Tow Hawaii, said. "A professional or someone who has been practicing could probably take all four within four to five minutes, probably a minute a tire."

We're told certain makes and models are very popular targets because of their tire size and resale value.

"So far what we've noticed is it's been a lot of Toyotas, a lot of Tacomas and a few 4runners," Le said. "Those also have similar sizes for other vehicles, Chevys, Fords. They have similar sizes so if you take all four of them, you're golden. For like a car with the rim and tire combination as well, you could probably get a couple grand, easy."

There's no foolproof deterrent but we're told there are steps you can take to make your vehicle less of a target.

"I would definitely say take off one of your lug nuts and replace it with a locked one," Le said.

Medina-Martinez said it could cost him $5,000 to replace the stolen parts and that doesn't include any damage caused to the vehicle.

The lug nut locks can be found at most auto parts stores.

To give your vehicle added security, Liberty Tow suggests putting more than one lug nut lock on each tire.

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