MANTECA — Manteca residents have been reporting a surge in overnight tire and rim thefts.
“I woke up in the morning and came out to my rims missing on my car,” said Vic Singh.
Singh was one of the first victims in what has become a yearlong rash of stolen rims and tires in Manteca neighborhoods.
“All four were taken, bent the frame a little bit,” he said Tuesday.
The thefts began last summer.
Like many others, Singh’s car was right outside his home, which he had just moved into. He said his house now has a security camera.
Since June of last year, Manteca has had around 30 cases of stolen rims and tires. Police say it wasn’t a huge issue prior.
But that changed in the past year, with thefts happening late at night or very early in the morning.
“It’s so quick. They pull up, they jump out, they jack it up,” said Manteca Police Lt. Paul Carmona. “It’s like in NASCAR. They pull the rims off, set it on pavers and they’re gone. I mean, sometimes it’s less than five minutes.”
In nearly all cases, it’s Toyota Camrys and Honda Accords that are targeted — and it’s for a very specific reason.
“Because of the fact that they’re interchangeable with other Toyota years and Hondas and Acuras, and any make by Honda or Toyota themselves,” said Val Gomez of Sammy’s Used Tires in Manteca.
Gomez said his boss has made sure all employees at the shop know not to be duped by people selling the stolen tires and rims. It’s something he believes every similar business in the area should note as well.
“Just as far as letting other used tire shops know the fact that this is a crime and something to be looked out for,” he said.
Police said they believe there are likely multiple suspects working together. The difficult part is they never pull up to the homes in the same vehicle, and because the thefts usually happen at night, security video hasn’t been able to identify any faces.
Anyone with any information on the thefts is asked to call the Manteca Police Department.