$100k tires and wheels stolen from vehicles at Slidell car dealership – owner offering $25k reward

Louisiana

Slidell Police are investigating, what appears to be, a professional theft ring that stole over $100,000 worth of tires and rims from a local car dealership.

Slidell Police were called to the Matt Bowers Chevrolet dealership this past Saturday morning (April 27, 2019) after a manager discovered the tires and wheels missing off of 31 vehicles, ranging from Chevy Tahoe’s, Malibu’s, trucks, and smaller SUV’s.

In all, 124 tires and wheels were stolen, totaling approximately $120,000, Police Chief Randy Fandal said. 

At this point of the investigation, it appears these thieves were no amateurs, he said.

They defeated locks, alarms, surveillance video, and went as far as to manipulate the exterior lights in the parking lot so they could work in the dark of the night, completely undetected, Fandal said. 

From what video could be recovered, it appears that shortly before 3:00 a.m., two subjects are seen walking across the dealership parking lot in order to cut the locks to a side-entrance. A short while later, a U-Haul truck pulls up and enters the rear parking lot of the dealership, he said.  

Approximately 40 minutes later, the U-Haul truck leaves and exits on to the service road towards Old Spanish Trail, Fandal said. 

It is believed that the suspects were working on removing the tires from the vehicles several hours before the U-Haul truck appears on the video.

The only thing the thieves left behind were some wooden blocks used to prop up the vehicles, and a car jack. From what we can make out from the surveillance video, it appears that two of the individuals are black males. One subject was wearing a red shirt with black pants, and the other was wearing all black clothing with white shoes. The U-Haul used by the individuals appeared to be an EL-17 foot truck.

During the preliminary stages of the investigation, police say they have identified at least two more similar thefts in other parts of the United States, specifically Texas and Oklahoma.

Police say although they cannot rule out that the suspects are local, they believe they are not from the Slidell area.

Matt Bowers, the owner of the dealership, is offering a $25,000 reward to the person who provides information leading up to the arrest of the suspects, police said, with half the money being paid upon arrest, and the other half upon conviction.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Slidell Police Department at 985-646-4347 or e-mail pio@slidellpd.com.

Police say you can remain anonymous.

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