Wednesday, April 6, 2011 06:00
Remember that time you left your pick-up outside the hardware store and were annoyed when you came out and found some jerk had parked so close behind you that you couldn’t open your tailgate? That guy might have done you a huge favor, because in some areas of the country tailgates are replacing hubcaps as the preferred target of opportunity of thieves who prey on unattended vehicles.
Tailgates are pretty easy to remove from most trucks––many can be taken off silently, with no tools, in under a minute––and they sell new for anywhere from $1000 to $1300 for late-model trucks. Some, such as those with rear-view parking cameras in them, can go for as much as $3600. Many victims concerned about deductibles or higher insurance rates don’t even report the thefts.
Tailgates that disappear from parking garages and dark streets often turn up later on Craigslist or for sale at shady body shops for a fraction of the cost of a new one, giving victims the chance to buy back the very tailgate they lost.
One car dealer in the Detroit area is fighting back by taking the tailgates off of all the new trucks on his lot, or backing them up to brick walls so there’s no way thieves can get at them. If you drive a truck, be careful and watch its back.