An estimated $16,000 worth of specialty tires were stolen recently from a Genoa car dealership.
Thieves stole 16 Mag tires from mostly pickup trucks and a few cars on display at the Genoa Chevrolet parking lot on Ohio 51, Genoa Police Chief Robert Bratton said.
Dealership employees arrived to work to found the tires missing days before Halloween. The tires were taken off vehicles located in the very last row located along the rear of the parking lot.
The thieves jacked up the vehicles, grabbed the wheels and left the pickups balancing on concrete construction blocks. The getaway vehicles were shielded by nearby shrubs. Once the heist was finished, the thieves drove through the field, behind Samsen’s Furniture and then traveled onto Ohio 51, Bratton said.
“These guys definitely knew what they were doing,” Bratton said. “And there’s no question they definitely knew the layout and how to disguise themselves.”
The lot does not have security cameras.
Patrol cars, however, had passed through the lot that night but did not travel by the last row. “Unless they went down that row, they wouldn’t have seen it,” Bratton said. From afar, nothing seemed suspicious because the pickup roofs appeared even across the row, he added.
Owners estimated the loss at about $1,000 per tire.
“That’s big for Genoa,” the chief said of the $16,000 loss that night.
The dealership has never had a theft of this magnitude either, Bratton said. “I think in the years that they have been open they have had one car taken - and that one was recovered.”
Authorities suspect the thieves may be part of a professional ring at work in the Northwest Ohio area.
“We are finding the same M O in three or four other thefts that have happened in the last few months,” Bratton said. He also noted the removal of the tires required a special tool.
Genoa is sharing its investigation information with a number of different communities to help get the word out.
“Our guess at this point is they likely have a good outlet to be stealing this many tires at a time.
I believe the State Highway Patrol Criminal Investigation Unit will likely be getting involved,” Bratton said.
Police ask that anyone who might have seen anything suspicious last week around the dealership or who might have tips to call them. The Genoa police number is 419-855-8515.