F-150 Tailgate

The Detroit News reports that tailgate thieves are overrunning southeast Michigan, costing truck owners and insurance companies between $1,200 and $3,600 per theft. The problem is so bad in part because stealing a tailgate only takes a few seconds when unlocked, and under a minute when they are locked. Thieves can reportedly remove a tailgate using only their fingers or with the aid of a regular old screwdriver – no specialized tools are needed.

To combat this problem, some auto dealers are displaying their trucks sans gate, or parking those trucks right up against a wall so thieves don't have room to operate. Not even a law making tailgate theft a felony worthy of up to five years in prison appears to be scaring off thieves. St. Clair Shores, MI police detective Dave Centala adds that the speed of the crime makes thieves difficult to catch, adding "they come at night, make no noise and we have never caught one in the act or recovered the part." Centala tells the DetNews that five were stolen in one night in St. Clair Shores, and in other cities the tailgates are being stolen in chunks.

Tailgate thefts are nothing new, and The Detroit News is only reporting on thefts in Michigan, but given the ease with which tailgates are being swiped, we're inclined to believe this continues to be a problem on the national level. Owners looking to protect their trucks can purchase an aftermarket lock, or they can park their vehicle in a garage or in a spot that gives thieves little room to remove the tailgate. Hopefully automakers will tune into this situation and make stealing tailgates far more difficult in the future.

[Source: The Detroit News]