A new kind of tailgating victimizes truck owners

Local News

If you’re a truck owner you need to know that criminals may be after your tailgate — especially if your truck is a Toyota Tacoma.

Honolulu Crimestoppers has issued an alert about a jump in reported thefts of tailgates from Toyota Tacoma pickup trucks.

It is unusual for Crimestoppers to single out any brand in its alerts, but the Toyota Tacoma is the top-selling vehicle of any kind in Hawaii and it has been for years, according to statewide vehicle registration figures.

If there is no lock, it only takes seconds to steal the tailgate on a pickup — and the make doesn’t really matter.

Darren Pamaylaon, shop manager at Advanced Collision Center agrees. “It’s with Chevys and Fords, it actually has been that way for literally 40 years. It hasn’t really changed that much.” 

He demonstrated how easy it was to remove the tailgate from a Nissan pickup truck. he didn’t rush — it still took only 25 seconds — and he did not use a single tool.

“And literally, there it is, into the backseat of the car. It’s that simple.”

Rick Ching, president of Servco Auto, says the problem is likely with older-model Tacomas.

“From model year 2016 on, the Tacomas came with a lock that makes it a lot more difficult to take the tailgate off.”

Many older-model pickup trucks of all makes — have no lock on the tailgates — making them easy to unlatch and remove.  

Pamaylaon, of Advanced Collision, says there are a few do-it-yourself locks and latches to prevent tailgate theft.

For a few dollars, simple hose-clamps can prevent the tailgate from sliding out without the use of a tool. 

“The other ones can be a little more expensive, you need a little bit more skill but still, if you have some basic mechanical knowledge it’s still not that hard to to.”  

Servco Auto President Rick Ching has a simple invitation for owners of Toyota Tacomas older than model year 2016. 

“We understand there’s a number of after-market products for the earlier model year trucks, so we’re advising maybe come back to the dealership if you have any questions and we can try to assist for the trucks that were a bit older than model year 2016.”

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