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'They move fast' | How to slow down thieves who steal wheels off your car

Five families in one Houston neighborhood woke to find their cars propped up on cinder blocks and the wheels missing.

HOUSTON — Taking the wheels off a car can take less than two minutes. When equipped with the right tools and a partner, thieves can steal thousands of dollars in property from your car in a flash.

Philianne Carden wrote into KHOU after her Ring doorbell camera captured thieves in the act. She said four other families in her southwest Houston neighborhood also woke to find their cars propped up on cinder blocks and the wheels missing.

"It's frustrating,' said her husband Austin. "At the end of the day, if they’re coming to take something, we can set up all these things but some people just figure out a way to get through them."

Tires alone can cost $500 apiece and wheels are not cheap either. Falling victim to wheel theft can cost people thousands of dollars, and mechanics say they hear of this crime happening in Houston two to three times a week.

Mechanics suggest using locking lug nuts, which require a special key to loosen.

"You have to have specialty tools [to take them off]," said Anthony Stoker, an auto technician at Sal's Westheimer Auto. "That'll make [thieves] take that much longer and they have a chance of getting caught."

Police say typically, crooks do not want to draw attention to themselves

"Locking lug nuts are useless against a pro." said Sgt. Tracy Hicks with the Houston Police Department's Auto Crimes Division. 

Sgt. Hicks said parking your car in a garage decreases your chances of becoming a victim of theft.


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