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Lehigh Valley

Rash of tire and rim thefts haunts the Lehigh Valley

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Believe it or not, police say Mother Nature is responsible for a wave of tire thefts across the Lehigh Valley.

They say pothole repairs have spiked demand for black market tires and rims.

The thefts may not just cost you money; police say they could cost you your life.

Diane Moore has a new car, but only for a few days; it's a rental.

Thieves stripped her real car of all four tires.

"My neighbor came and got me and told me that I had no tires on the car at 5:15 in the morning," she said.

It wasn't just Diane's car.

The same night thieves hit her neighbor's car too, at Bethlehem's Valley Park Apartments on Catasauqua Road. All four tires were gone. the car propped up with a bag of dog food.

"This is absolutely crazy," said Moore. "I'd never seen anything like it, and nor did I think anything like this would ever happen to me."

Cops say the most common targets are Japanese imports, including Acuras, Hondas, Infinitis, Mazdas, Toyotas, and Nissans.

Thieves can even remove the locking variety of lugs in a very short time.

Especially popular are cars with premium factory rims, like Moore's Nissan Murano, which cost five grand to replace.

Her neighbor got a $4,200 bill.

"I had two [tires] shipped in from Chicago," said Moore, who has waited 10 days to get her car fixed.

These thieves could even put your safety at risk without you even knowing.

Cops say some thieves start the job and then get spooked off, leaving loosened lug nuts and tires that could fall off.

Moore gets her car back this week, but she's scared to even park it outside.

"I think it's sad and it's just a shame that you can't find another place to get money," she said.

Police are asking neighbors, especially in apartment complexes, to keep a very close eye for suspicious cars late at night.

Since some thieves are using milk crates to prop up cars, they're also asking business owners to keep crates in a secure area and to report thefts immediately.

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