By Brian Messenger and Jill Harmacinski
---- — METHUEN — When Patrick Hartigan woke up Saturday morning, he found his car jacked up and resting on two cinder blocks in his 665 Jackson St. driveway. All four tires had been stolen, police said.
The thief or thieves left behind the jack and all the lug nuts, according to a Methuen police report.
Unfortunately, area police officials said such thefts are not uncommon in the Merrimack Valley.
“I’ve seen it a lot over the years,” said Methuen police Capt. Kris McCarthy. “It’s very difficult for them to steal a newer model car. If you’re looking to get the rims or tires, you’ve got to do it right there.”
McCarthy said more advanced anti-theft devices on newer vehicles make it harder for thieves to steal entire vehicles.
Tire and rim thefts often occur under the cover of darkness.
Late last month, Francis Thomas of 5 W. Kenneth St., Lawrence, had four tires and stock rims stolen from his 2013 Toyota Venza. The theft occurred April 29 sometime between 4:30 and 6:30 a.m.
In addition to the wheels being gone, the undercarriage on the Venza was damage from being dropped on its rotors, according to a Lawrence police report.
“From time to time, this happens,” said Lawrence Police Chief John Romero. “Generally, it happens with Hondas for the most part.”
Thieves also stole all of the tires from four cars in Andover and North Andover on Jan. 17. The incidents occurred on Bullfinch Drive in Andover and Fernview Avenue and Kingston Street in North Andover.
In each of the thefts, the vehicles were left on either stone blocks or milk crates.
Similar incidents were also detailed in reports by police in Haverhill and Lawrence early last year.
In May 2012, all four tires and rims were stolen from a 2006 Infiniti G35 parked in the driveway of a Thornton Avenue home in Haverhill. Police said the thieves even broke into the car’s trunk and used its jack to raise the car and remove the tires and rims, which were valued at $1,000. The owner awoke the next morning to find the car resting on blocks.
And in March 2012, thieves stole tires and rims from two vehicles parked on Beacon and Farnham streets in South Lawrence. One owner found his car propped up on a jack and spare tire. The other vehicle was left up on rocks and wood.