Diego Francisco’s 2016 Ford F-250 is one of his prized possessions.
“7 or 8 months I’ve had that truck,” Diego says.
Last Tuesday, his shiny new truck became a target for thieves.
They weren’t after his stereo system or his tires, however.
“Somebody came and stole my tailgate,” he says.
Diego was one of several truck owners targeted in Martin County, with 5 thefts in the last month alone according to the sheriff’s office.
"The first time I saw it, I’m a little bit angry, but I can’t do nothing,” he says.
Investigators say those thieves are specifically targeting Ford F-250 trucks like Diego’s, ripping the tailgates from the hinges.
Sheriff William Snyder says they are hot items right now, especially on newer models, as thieves are going after the back up cameras inside the tailgates.
“Somebody down south, perhaps in Miami, perhaps in Hialeah, is ordering up so many, and then they go out cruising till they get as many as they need,” Sheriff Snyder says.
He says there are ways you can protect your tailgate.
“Back your truck up at night if you can so someone can’t open that tailgate, it’s up against the wall, and keep it locked.”
Diego is also making moves to protect himself moving forward.
On Thursday, he installed brand new security cameras around his house to catch would be thieves.
“I put the camera now, I feel much better,” he says.
Sheriff Snyder says even though F-250’s seem to be the prime target, it doesn’t mean other truck owners aren’t vulnerable.
Meanwhile, Diego says he faces an expensive fix.
The estimate he was given to replace his tailgate - $7,000.