Stolen tailgates cost truck owners thousands to replace

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by Jeremy Desel / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on January 9, 2013 at 6:17 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 9 at 6:17 PM

HOUSTON -- Some Houston truck owners are getting hit hard by crime. Thieves are stealing their tailgates, and for those want to replace them, the damages can cost thousands of dollars.

When Mark Swanson left home in his new truck, he knew something wasn't right.

He’s used to looking at a rear-view camera.

"Well there was a message that said be careful backing up and there was no picture," said Swanson.

He thought maybe there was something covering it, but when he went back and looked, there was no tailgate. Empty latches were left, the wires were snipped clean and the camera was gone.

Swanson spent the morning getting quotes on the cost to replace it.

"I've gotten estimates anywhere from $3,200 to $6,000 or $7,000.”

Some dealers told him the cost is so high because it comes in several pieces that need to be assembled and the camera wires have to be replaced all the way to the dashboard.

Police say the tailgates are targeted because there is no real way of identifying marks and they are easy to take.

"You lower it and there are two clips that hold it on and you just pull it up,” said Swanson. “Then boom, it's gone. It probably took them a couple of minutes to do it."

There is a big market for these parts and people are selling them online as high as $2,500.

Insurance will replace Swanson's stolen tailgate.

When asked if tailgates come with locks, Swanson said, “Yeah. I've owned a truck for 12 years and I've never ever locked it."

An expensive lesson learned on a one-month-old truck.

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