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Authorities continue to warn of tailgate thieves

Authorities in Conyers and Rockdale County are warning owners of Ford pickups to lock their tailgates after a rash of thefts has been reported recently. While this is new to the Conyers area, these kinds of thefts have been occurring for the past few years around the country. Pictured here are 26 Ford tailgates that were recovered in 2013 in a Texas chop shop operation. (Special photo)

Authorities in Conyers and Rockdale County are warning owners of Ford pickups to lock their tailgates after a rash of thefts has been reported recently. While this is new to the Conyers area, these kinds of thefts have been occurring for the past few years around the country. Pictured here are 26 Ford tailgates that were recovered in 2013 in a Texas chop shop operation. (Special photo)

CONYERS — Local authorities continue to warn drivers of newer model Ford pickup trucks to be aware of a rash of tailgate thefts that has cropped up recently.

According to the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office, thieves are targeting newer model Ford pickups for their tailgates. The first theft was reported May 21 to the Conyers Police Department, but four more thefts of Ford tailgates were reported throughout the month of July.

RCSO Cpl. Michael Camp said two of the thefts reported between July 2 to 20 occurred at local hotels, one at a tree cutting service and the fourth at the Courtesy Ford dealership.

“We are working together on these. Columbia County and Richmond County near the South Carolina line have reported some of these thefts as well that have taken place in commercial areas and at car dealerships,” Camp said.

Authorities in Newton County and the city of Covington have not reported any tailgate thefts at this time, but said they are aware of the thefts in Rockdale County.

Camp said investigators do not believe the tailgates are being taken to metal recycling centers, but they suspect the tailgates may be taken to chop shops. The value of the tailgates is estimated to be between $3,000 and $4,500.

“One way to prevent your tailgate from being stolen is to manually lock the tailgate with your truck key,” Camp said. “While this takes a little extra time to do, it will keep you from having to replace a tailgate.”

Anyone with information about the thefts of tailgates is asked to contact CrimeStoppers at 404-577-TIPS (8477) or RCSO Investigator Buck McCoy at 770-278-8170.