HOUSTON – On Monday afternoon, Houston police officers surrounded a locked garage on Airline where a stolen Chevy Silverado pickup truck was allegedly being stored.
"A patrol officer got a signal on her LoJack device that led her over to this warehouse," said Senior police officer Jim Woods with the Houston Police Department's Auto Theft Division.
Woods said after getting a search warrant they not only found the Chevy inside, but a stolen SUV.
Investigators also found dozens of auto parts from transmissions to engines. The loot was worth more than $80,000.
"There are probably several vehicles worth of parts in there that they probably acquired over the last several months," Woods said.
It was your typical chop shop and the white Silverado was likely the suspects’ next project.
"We have been having a rash of Chevrolet truck thefts in Houston,” Woods said.
Every month HPD puts out a Top 10 list of stolen vehicles, and for several years Chevy, Ford and Dodge pickups have been at the top.
One reason is because Houstonians love their trucks. In fact, one out of every five vehicles is a pickup in Houston.
"Unless you've got it locked in the garage and you are standing out there with an AR-15, any truck can be taken," said Eddie Runner.
Runner, who sales after market alarms at River Oaks Car Stereo, said “there is a lot you can do” to make the crooks go somewhere else.
"You can put good protection or add good protection to an existing alarm or a car that doesn't have an alarm for as little as $100 and get pretty good protection," Runner said.
For about $500 you can buy a remote.
"Up to a mile, it will tell you if your door is open or if your car has been moved, shaken, opened or stolen," Runner said.
Runner said a small camera with a SD card is a very popular item.
"It can run all night long and if somebody even gets close to your car you can look at this through Wi-Fi with your smartphone while you're in the house," Runner said.
The day after the chop shop raid, HPD's auto theft detectives begin to sort through all the parts trying to figure out where they came from.
So what can you do to make sure your truck doesn't end up in pieces?
"If you've got a garage, lock it in the garage. Don’t leave any keys in it,” Woods said. “Utilize anything that you possibly can to make your truck a harder target to take."