ROCKDALE COUNTY, Ga. - Police are warning pickup drivers to be careful of thieves stealing tailgates right off the truck.
Channel 2’s Carl Willis went to a Ford dealership where a bold thief dropped the tailgate and installed it on their truck before driving away.
Surveillance video shows a thief drive into the Courtesy Ford Dealership in Conyers without a tailgate on his truck. Minutes later, the driver leaves with a new, freshly stolen tailgate installed.
"Things never cease to amaze me with what people will do," said Courtesy Ford General Manager Jay Barksdale.
Barksdale says tailgate theft is an expensive crime and investigators say it only takes a few moments.
"They pull up to a Ford pickup, pull the tailgate down, cut the cords, and it's off in about 30 seconds,"' said Cpl. Michael Camp of the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office.
At first, police believed that thieves were only targeting tailgates that are equipped with a backup camera.
But then they saw basic tailgates stolen, including one at the Comfort Inn on Klondike captured on surveillance.
Conyers police say there have been three more cases just in the past week. They're looking at when these are happening and where.
"(The incidents), most recently, are happening along the I-20 corridor at local hotels businesses and even a dealership," said Conyers police officer Kim Lucas.
Tailgates can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000 to replace.
“It’s kind of a nationwide thing over the last few years and we're just starting to see it here locally in the last few months," said Rockdale County Sheriff's Cpl. Michael Camp.
Barksdale says it's F-250, 350 and 450 XLs that are being targeted.
"It’s a base truck or more of a fleet-type of vehicle, but it's not just a Ford thing. It's all across," Lucas said.
Police believe these parts are ending up on the black market and in chop shops. They say if you take the time to lock your tailgate, you won't be the next victim.