Thieves target car dealerships for big scores - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Thieves target car dealerships for big scores

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Surveillance photo of theft at car dealership (Source: Lexington P.D.) Surveillance photo of theft at car dealership (Source: Lexington P.D.)
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Friday Lexington Police released a surveillance photo of someone stealing rims and tires off new cars at an area car dealership.

Investigators say at about 3:30 a.m. Thursday, someone removed all four rims and tires from two Corvettes on the lot at Herndon Chevrolet on Sunset Boulevard.

Police say the thief drove a U-Haul rental van, seen in the surveillance photo.

Investigators think it is the same thief who stole 20-inch chrome wheels from Love Chevrolet late Wednesday night. Four sets of wheels costing about $20,000 were stolen.

"When we came in this morning we found five new vehicles on the ground," said John Wise with Love Automotive. "When I say 'On the ground,' I mean the tires and wheels were all removed and the cars were left on the ground."

Thieves hit Love Automotive near Harbison sometime between when employees left for the night and when they returned in the morning. Several sets of expensive tires and wheels were missing.

"These guys seem to be professional," said Wise. "They know what they're doing. They're in and out in no time."

Two Suburbans, an Avalanche, and a Corvette was the only one supported by a concrete block.

"We're not just talking about wheels," said Wise. "We're talking about the big chrome wheels that are very popular right now. They bring in a lot of money. On one car for instance, you're looking at tires and wheels at least $4,000."

"At about the same time the Chevy dealership was hit, the suspects went across the street to the GMC dealership and took the wheels off a Denali."

"These cars could be shipped off somewhere and the serial numbers, the VIN changed, re-sold, re-titled, but in most cases probably these cars I'd say would go to a chop shop," said Wise.

The dealerships are not expecting to get the parts back but they are trying to prevent the thefts from happening again.

"We all know this is the time of year when we really have to be extremely careful and we've had our share of it this year," said Wise.

Wednesday night a dealership in Lexington was also hit.  And last week, a Camaro was reported stolen from Love Chevrolet.

Lexington and Columbia Police are reviewing surveillance video to see if the thefts are related and to get any leads on the suspects.

If you have any information that may help police, call Crimestoppers at 1-888-Crime-SC.

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