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Palm Beach Gardens police investigating overnight tire thefts

Posted at 11:49 AM, Dec 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-18 17:56:38-05

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Police are investigating several overnight tire thefts in a Palm Beach Garden neighborhood.

Two victims said all four tires were stolen off a Toyota Camry and Toyota Avalon in the Garden Lakes community, according to police.

The thefts happened on 15th and 16th Lanes, and were reported at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Our WPTV crew on the scene saw one of the cars, a silver Camry, dropped to the ground.

The victim, Fernando Del Puerto, said he just got the car eight months ago.

Nearby, a white Avalon was in the same state, sitting on its brakes.

The victim, Jose Lavin, told WPTV it's going to cost him $3,700 to replace the stolen tires.

"What I going to do?" said Lavin. "What I going to do? See what happened, then I called Toyota and we are taking it from there."

Lavin said he’s had his Avalon for less than two months. On Tuesday morning, a man delivering his newspaper saw the car and called police.

"They put some blocks there, I didn’t put it there. They put some blocks, they were nice," said Lavin.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said this also happened to four other owners of Toyota cars and one Honda in unincorporated Boca Raton last week.

"It’s getting more common every day," said Robert Kowalski at St. Lucie Battery and Tire shop.

Kowalski said it could take someone 15 minutes or less to take all four tires off a car and there’s a reason Toyotas specifically are targeted.

"The wheels are probably very expensive," said Kowalski.

Lavin said he’s ordering wheel locks for his new tires this time.

"We need to travel around here and I need the car," he added.

Kowalski said even with wheel locks, someone who knows what they are doing with the right tools can take off wheel locks, but the locks could deter a criminal looking for an easy steal.

Another suggestion is to look into a motion sensor alarm for your car.

Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County at 1-800-458-TIPS.