LENOIR, NC (WBTV) - State and local law enforcement agencies gathered in Lenoir on Wednesday morning to compare notes as they try to find a way to stop what they believe is a theft ring targeting Ford trucks.
The trucks are being stolen, in most cases, off of used car lots from Hickory to Lenoir.
There have been eight confirmed thefts so far and authorities are checking to see if there could be more.
The trucks are all diesel, extended or crew cab type trucks. All are pre-2008 models.
Those built after that time need a chip key to start. Not so in the older trucks.
In these cases, the crooks knocked off the ignition locks and used screwdrivers to crank the engines.
Police are not sure if the trucks are being cut for parts or being shipped out of state or even out of country to be sold.
Bo Keever, who owns one car lot in Lenoir, says the thieves stole two of his trucks a few days ago.
“They were brave,” he said. They were on the lot about 4 a.m. for about a half hour.
One of the trucks could be seen in surveillance video spewing thick smoke as it was started and showed signs of running rough as it was driven away.
A few minutes, later the thief brought it back, parked it, then stole a different truck.
“I’ve never heard of anything like that,” said Keever.
Authorities are urging anyone driving by car lots late at night, and after closing hours, to call them if they see anyone around the cars.