AUTO CRIMES ON THE RISE

November 12, 2021 · Filed Under Events and News · Comments Off on AUTO CRIMES ON THE RISE 

Car thefts in Tarrant County are on the rise, according to statistics from the Tarrant Regional Auto Crimes Task Force. They jumped to 6,367 in 2020, from 5,895 in 2019. Recognizing the alarming trend, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office has assigned their attorney Zane Reid to focus exclusively on prosecuting auto theft. He will work with Tarrant Regional Auto Crimes Task Force which includes the Fort Worth Police Department, among other local law enforcement entities.

As new keyless technologies have emerged, car thieves have devised new ways to steal cars, such as re-programming fobs. “We are now seeing very organized groups using sophisticated methods to steal vehicles,” according to Bryan Sudan, commander of the task force.

The Tarrant Regional Auto Crimes Task Force began in 1993 and is made up of investigators in the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office, Parker County Sheriff’s Office, National Insurance Crime Bureau and police departments in Arlington, Fort Worth, Hurst, Haltom City and Euless.

Even though car theft is relatively rare in Arlington Heights, it’s not unheard of. One of our neighbors, Bob Jenkins, shares his recent harrowing first-hand account below.

UNSOLVED TRUCK THEFT by AHNA member Bob Jenkins

Friday October 1, I jump out of bed at 6:30am, normal morning, lots of lightning and rain during the night.  I’m on the couch with my morning coffee and decide to check my email around 7:30am. I open an email from Uconnect a Mopar Product that we pay $16 a month to protect our ridiculously expensive 2016 Dodge Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn Mega Cab Dually pickup truck. The email said “Theft alert was activated.” I figured it must have been the lightning. I jump up to do a mandatory welfare check and discovered we had a very empty driveway.  

My initial thought was “how did I screw this up?” I knew I had activated the truck’s alarm the night before, but I didn’t hear it go off. So, I checked the security cameras we installed to protect us from theft. Sure enough, I watch two impoverished citizens figure out how to open the door to my truck in 21 seconds without breaking a window or setting off the alarm and drive off in our truck at 3:51am while we blissfully slept.  

I remembered that I pay for a locating service, in case we ever misplaced our stupidly expensive means of transportation and think, “Ha! I’ve got them!” I ping the location and sure enough it shows the truck is parked at a residence in South Oak Cliff in southwest Dallas. Knowing that time is of the essence, I immediately call 911, but Fort Worth Police Department tells me they can’t help me, that I have to call Dallas if that’s where the truck is. I call Dallas and they tell me they can’t send out a police car to investigate without a case number from Fort Worth.

Two and a half hours later, a Fort Worth patrol car shows up at my house and we file the report.  It is now 10:30am Friday morning. The Fort Worth police officer tells me he will turn in my report and have Dallas check the Oak Cliff address. I check my location service multiple times during this two and a half hour time span. By 4:30 that morning my truck’s location tracking system had been disconnected.

The following Tuesday I got a call from a Fort Worth police detective. He told me they were working on it, but Dallas had refused to cooperate, so they couldn’t confirm whether the truck was at the Oak Cliff address or not. The detective assured me that there are cameras everywhere and one of them will pick up the plates. I asked the detective “is that the limit of your investigation?” Long silence. I told him I had had the truck at the Chrysler dealership just three days before it was stolen. I suggested that someone could have made a new fob for it or something. I said “they knew where I lived. They knew to take it Dallas. They knew how to defeat the location system. Do you think they would be sharp enough to change the license plates on it? “ Long silence, followed by another reassurance that they’ll get back to me when the cameras pick it up.

A couple of days later I got another random ping on another South Oak Cliff address. I called Dallas PD and received a call back from a stolen vehicle officer who politely stated this was an ongoing problem and they couldn’t just up and check every address that gets pinged on this vehicle.

I’ve heard nothing since then. The good news is my insurance company will pay me in full for the truck. It was our retirement gift to ourselves, so we splurged and got the nicest truck possible. Amazingly, to replace it today will cost $30,000 more than what we paid for it five years ago. And, there aren’t even any used ones available to buy in the US.

Somewhere someone is driving a very nice pickup. I hope they take care of it and wax it twice a year. I sure did. We haven’t decided what we’re going to do.

It’s been more than a month now and not a peep from Fort Worth Police Department. The car dealership tells me it wasn’t their fault. To top it off, the president of Mexico just declared amnesty for all vehicles that have crossed the border illegally. Now for $120 American dollars, they can register, plate and receive title in their name. How can the good guys compete?

I wish it were otherwise, but my experience with the police, and especially 911, on every level was disappointing.  Criminals know what they can get away with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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