Cops: Thieves targeting Ford pickup trucks

Thieves appear to be on the prowl throughout Port St. Lucie in search of Ford pickup trucks.

The stolen trucks are not being stripped down for parts; instead they are being used in the commission of other crimes.

Port St. Lucie Police Detectives Al Corona and Mike Cimino are leading the investigation into the thefts of three such pickups, and an attempted theft of a fourth. The three stolen trucks, either F-250s or F-350s, have since been recovered in the Miami area.

“We’ve got a pretty good lead on what they’re being used for,” Det. Cimino said. He would not elaborate given the active nature of the investigation, but did note that the trucks are being targeted for their load capacity.

Port St. Lucie is one of a handful of communities seeing an uptick in Ford pickup truck-specific auto thefts. Jupiter has reported eight cases. Miami has had “quite a few,” Det. Cimino said.

The detectives explained that the trucks are older, ranging from 2004 to 2007. Some are diesel, others not. Det. Cimino said their theory is that the Ford F-250s and F-350s are being targeted because they are relatively easier to steal than other trucks. “The way they (the criminals) are doing it isn’t elaborate,” he said.

The detectives said the criminals are driving off with the trucks, not loading them onto trailers and hauling them away. The thieves pop the locks to gain access and force the ignition.

The detectives encourage Ford truck owners to further secure their vehicles by ensuring vehicles are locked and keys are not left inside.

If a pickup truck owner has a surveillance system, he/she is urged to make sure it is up to date and a camera is able to see the truck. A working alarm system on the vehicle would also help deter would-be vehicle thieves.

Technology can further assist, according to Det. Cimino, who explained that some alarm systems are tied to apps that can alert the owner’s phone in real time. Manual and remote kill switches as well as system interrupters could also be installed.

Det. Corona said that the three trucks recovered were taken to a tow yard for processing. Port St. Lucie police sent a crime scene technician to lift prints and collect other physical evidence prior to releasing the vehicles to their owners.

No arrests have been made and no suspect information has been released. Detectives Corona and Cimino ask that anyone who might have information about these incidents or observes any suspicious activities to contact them.

Det. Corona can be reached at 772-344-4080, while Det. Cimino can be reached at 772-344-4124. Those with information who wish to remain anonymous can call Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at 800-273-TIPS (8477).

 

Incidents at a Glance

  • 3000 block SW Crumpacker St. – Sept. 9/10: Locked, key in ignition
  • 3000 block SW Laffite St. – Sept. 10/11: Locked, keys secured by owner
  • 1000 block SW Aledo Lane – Sept. 10/11: ATTEMPTED – Door locks punched
  • 100 block SW Burlington St. – Sept. 16: No signs of force.

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