New target for thieves in Keys: Truck tailgates

Simpy locking your tailgate can thwart thieves.
Simpy locking your tailgate can thwart thieves.

When thieves target the Upper Keys in crime waves, generally they take the lower units boat of engines, where the gears and prop are.

Now, detectives with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office say, thieves have been targeting not boat engines but truck tailgates, basically the back door to a truck's bed. The Upper Keys have been hit especially hard.

Two tailgates were reported stolen between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, one by the owner of a 2008 Ford F150 that was parked at a house on Marina Avenue in Key Largo; the other by the owner of a 2012 Ford pickup parked on Bass Avenue, also in Key Largo.

Last week, two Islamorada residents reported their tailgates stolen. There were two reported stolen in the Lower Keys earlier in the year and two reported stolen in Marathon in February.

The Sheriff's Office said it can take just seconds for someone experienced in such thefts to take the tailgate from a truck.

The solution to avoiding that is easy: Lock your tailgate when you aren't using the back of the truck. Using the tailgate's lock will generally discourage someone who is looking for a quick and easy target. This simple precaution could save you a major expense. Such tailgates cost thousands of dollars to replace.

The Sheriff's Office says the National Insurance Crime Bureau, in a recent report, said tailgate thefts rose nationwide by 31 percent between 2012 and 2013.

In addition to locking your tailgate, after-market security products are available, like hinge locks. Other ways of preventing tailgate thefts: Park in a locked garage or, when you park, back up to a wall or building to limit access to the tailgate.