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Thieves target Chevrolets this month in Lodi

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Posted: Thursday, August 30, 2007 10:00 pm

Hondas and Toyotas, and sometimes Saturns, are usually listed as the most stolen cars. But when vehicle thefts suddenly skyrocketed this month in Lodi, the trend appeared to be Chevrolet trucks and vans.

Of the 65 cars stolen in August, nearly a third of them were Chevrolet trucks and vans, according to Lodi police statistics.

The number of overall vehicle thefts is so much higher this year - compared to 26 in August 2006 - that the city is now getting the attention of the Delta Regional Auto Theft Task Force, said Lodi Police Detective Nick Welton, who is working full-time on the task force.

He suspects that one Lodi man, who was arrested Tuesday, is responsible for many of the stolen Chevrolet trucks. In many of the cases, the truck's steering column was broken in the same place and a screwdriver was used to start the vehicle. The suspect got so good at it, that in just a few minutes he could quickly drive away with a vehicle.

The relatively good news is that many of the vehicles are recovered after the thieves steal them. But the owners aren't exactly thrilled to learn that they have some repairs to make, because the vehicle has been used, abused and then ditched.

"(Thieves) steal it to get whatever they can out of the vehicle and then they cut the catalytic converter out," Welton said.

Catalytic converters are then sold to recyclers to melt down precious metals inside, but the vehicle owner has to pay a couple hundred dollars to replace it - more if the exhaust system has been damaged. Then the steering column has to be repaired. Sometimes the window has been broken to get into the vehicle.

Though some vehicles were stolen when the owners left keys in them, many vehicles were properly locked, said Lodi Police Crime Prevention Officer Andrea Patterson, who reviewed reports on the vehicles stolen in August.

Of the 65 autos stolen as of Thursday, 14 were Chevrolet trucks, two were Chevrolet Blazers and five were Chevrolet Astro vans.

Those numbers got the attention of more than one Lodi officer, because Hondas and Toyotas usually top the list.

In August, 10 Honda Civics have been stolen.

All told, stolen Chevrolet trucks and vans alone totaled 21, just five fewer vehicles than the total number of autos stolen during August 2006.

Other models, however, weren't left out.

Five Ford trucks were stolen, as well as two Ford Expeditions, two GMC trucks and three vans were also stolen, Patterson said.

Now that one suspect is jailed, Welton is hoping the theft rate drops.

But because the vehicle theft rate nearly tripled over last August, the auto theft task force is focusing on Lodi.

Welton is working full-time with the group, and said he hopes to see the theft rate drop.

Contact reporter Layla Bohm at layla@lodinews.com.

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  • posted at 7:20 am on Mon, Sep 3, 2007.


    Mad Dog: The answer? Most people just don't report things if they are going to make a buck off of it. Sad.

  • posted at 7:18 am on Mon, Sep 3, 2007.


    Focus, LodiGuy, focus.

  • posted at 7:16 am on Mon, Sep 3, 2007.


    Gee, I wonder what a thief would want with a big Chevy van. Maybe more room for his friends?

  • posted at 7:14 am on Mon, Sep 3, 2007.


    In the old west weren't people shot and killed for stealing another's horse (transportation)? It seems we've gone soft.

  • posted at 2:52 pm on Sat, Sep 1, 2007.


    Mad Dog, I was wondering that same thing about the recyclers. Don't they think it is suspicious, that these guys are coming in with all these catalytic converters?

  • posted at 10:23 pm on Fri, Aug 31, 2007.


    Why not make it illegal for the recyclers to buy catalytic converters? Why aren't the recyclers reporting the persons that bring in 2 or 3 catalytic converters at a time? This would solve some of the problems!

  • posted at 4:49 pm on Fri, Aug 31, 2007.


    Your GPS is a joke. What is needed is laws like in Texas where you can use force to defend your property as well as your life. Oh that's right in Cailf. now you are to give up what you worked hard for.

  • posted at 3:54 pm on Fri, Aug 31, 2007.


    I'd rather have a limp wrist, than a limp noodle. See viagara commercial.

  • posted at 3:41 pm on Fri, Aug 31, 2007.


    Hey, Answer, Quick Solution and S&W 500, Last I heard, vigilantism was against the law. Probably a couple of strikes in our state.

  • posted at 3:35 pm on Fri, Aug 31, 2007.


    Maybe being a real jerk, should have stiffer consequences, like the death penalty. Hasta La Vista Baby

  • posted at 3:32 pm on Fri, Aug 31, 2007.


    You're are quick on the keyboard, but I doubt you're that quick on the draw!

  • posted at 3:30 pm on Fri, Aug 31, 2007.


    How about finally closing the borders, so that all that meth, doesn't get through anymore. No meth, no tweakers, less crime (less car theft). Aren't illegal aliens, with their illegal drugs, illegal?

  • posted at 3:24 pm on Fri, Aug 31, 2007.



  • posted at 12:29 pm on Fri, Aug 31, 2007.


    Dear Quick Solution: I agree, however I am sure the limp wristed libs won't.

    I own a Chevy, and it is my work vehicle. If someone tries to steal it, they are trying to take everything from me, and I WILL DEFEND IT ACCORDINGLY!

    I say, cut off a hand of all thieves over the age of 20. Those under 20, should have the crap kicked out of them by someone like me, or even meaner and tougher.

    1 Shot, place it to have meaning!

  • posted at 4:43 am on Fri, Aug 31, 2007.


    GPS system works after you have discovered that your vehicle was stolen. Most of the stolen vehicles are rummaged through for valuables and then abandoned before you ever report it stolen. However, GPS does help in locating where the stolen vehicle has been dumped..

  • posted at 4:03 am on Fri, Aug 31, 2007.


    I didn't know there were that many Chevy's left in Lodi. Sure glad to see that crime is still decreasing in livable, lovable Lodi. Those farmworkers like those big vehicles to get their 13 person family into and out to the fields or plastics plant for work.

  • posted at 3:49 am on Fri, Aug 31, 2007.


    In one state, auto supply stores sell a piece of steel tubing about 3 inches long holding a 12 gauge shotshell with 00 buckshot. This is pointed vertically under the seat toward the driver. When the thief sits in the drivers seat the switch that controls the seatbelt light fires the shell. You hsve DOB right up where the sun don't shine.

    If we could use these any 911 call would go to the mortician first not the police. The only thing I don't like is the bloody headliner would need replacement.

  • posted at 3:46 am on Fri, Aug 31, 2007.


    We need to change the laws about auto theft penalties. Maybe the death sentence would slow them down. First offense. Hasta la vista baby!

  • posted at 3:25 am on Fri, Aug 31, 2007.


    Too bad your Tahoe doesn't have a spell checker.

  • posted at 2:35 am on Fri, Aug 31, 2007.


    My Chevy Tahoe has a GPS system which I unserstand is quite a deterrant to theives. I say pick your next vehicle with such a built in device and it won't be stolen



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