ARTHUR – Arthur Chrysler sales manager Adam Rooney said the morning of Dec. 4 was like a horror film.
“It was getting worse and worse as you walked through the compound,” Rooney said.
Staff at the dealership arrived on Monday morning to find in their locked compound 23 pickup trucks without tires and rims.
The value of the stolen items is estimated between $150,000 and $200,000.
An unknown number of thieves – Rooney suggested there may have been upwards of five – cut body-sized holes in the dealership’s fenced compound sometime on the night of Dec. 2, after the workday had finished and staff left.
Outdoor lighting was disconnected, the lug nuts securing the rims/wheels to the vehicles were removed, and the lighting turned back on.
According to Rooney, who referenced surveillance images, a group returned to the compound the next night to complete the job.
Rooney said thieves disconnected lighting again and spent six hours that night jacking up the trucks, mounting them on perfectly-sized wooden blocks and loading the tires/rims, ranging in size from 17 to 21 inches, into a commercial-style cube van.
The thefts were discovered on Monday morning when staff opened the dealership for the day.
Rooney said having their space violated and property taken has left the Rooneys feeling “pretty angry.”
Tire and rim thefts from dealerships aren’t uncommon, Rooney said, noting he worked in Toronto for decades where it was almost expected.
The 22-inch rims, being the most expensive, would go missing first.
He also said the Arthur dealership, owned by his father Wayne Rooney, was previously hit by thieves two years ago. At that time several catalytic converters were stolen, Rooney said.
It’ll be a similar experience this time around as the dealership waits for its insurance claims to be processed, and for replacement products to arrive.
Until that happens, the dealership can’t do anything with the trucks – they’re just left sitting on the blocks.
When new rims and tires eventually arrive, staff will have to spend time undoing thieves’ work by mounting them on all the trucks and inspecting the vehicles to ensure nothing else was damaged.
Rooney could only guess as to how many people were involved, where the suspects came from or where the tires and rims are headed.
But he suggested perhaps the job was organized, with a buyer already lined up and the dealership checked out in advance.
“It’s tough, they’re gone; what do you do,” Rooney remarked.
Wellington OPP is currently investigating the thefts, and Rooney said officers have been good to deal with.
As of the Advertiser’s press deadline, police were in the process of gathering video evidence and canvassing the community for information. Police are asking anyone with surveillance or dashcam footage in the area to call 1-888-310-1122.
Police are also wanting to identify the person driving a white cube van in the area around the time of the theft, according to a Dec. 4 OPP press release.
Anyone with information who wants to be anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or visiting csgw.tips to submit a tip online.