EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


August 16, 2013

Thieves on spree take expensive car rims, tires

Police: More than $150,000 in losses, no leads

HAVERHILL — Erin Erler was awoken last Friday morning by the sound of her doorbell.

One of her neighbors came over to ask if she knew the rims and tires of her car were missing.

“I said, ‘What?’” Erler said. “I didn’t understand what he was saying.”

Erler ran outside and looked at her car, which was parked in her driveway off North Avenue. It was sitting on a car jack and a small spare tire. All four rims and tires were gone.

“I’ve never seen anything like that before,” Erler said. “Whoever did it, they’re very good at what they do.”

With the speed of a race car pit crew and in the darkness of night, an organized group of thieves has been going around the city stealing expensive rims and tires, police said. In some cases, the thefts happened right outside the car owners homes. They later discover their vehicles sitting on jacks or cement blocks.

Police said it’s happened 13 times in the last four months and 15 times since December, resulting in estimated losses of more than $150,000.

Eight of the thefts have occurred in parking lots of downtown apartment complexes.

“There are hundreds of people living in these apartments and you’d think someone would have seen something,” police Lt. Robert Pistone said. “We haven’t received a single call about the suspects and have not captured them on video. So at this point, they’ve been very elusive.”

Erler said the driveway of her home is in clear view of the main road and is close to a street light.

“Police said this has been happening downtown and that they were surprised it happened in this area,” Erler said of her neighborhood, which is on the northern outskirts of Haverhill, near the Plaistow line.

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