Suspects accused of stealing $50,000 worth of tires and rims

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Hillsborough County deputies arrested four men accused of stealing $50,000 worth of tires and rims from at least 10 businesses. The thefts occurred throughout the past month.

All those tires and rims came from semi-trucks and dump trucks at the businesses, deputies said. The four suspects were on a roll until they got caught red-handed at their last job, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies in a sheriff’s office chopper spotted the men.

A deputy spotted the suspect’s vehicle and put it under surveillance for hours. The pilot of the chopper was in constant communication with deputies on the ground.

“We’re coming in,” one of the deputies is heard saying in a video.

The pilot responded, “But the van’s still rolling so don’t approach yet.”

The thieves tore through this fence.
The thieves tore through this fence.

Deputies had the crooks surrounded. “The driver is out of the van,” the pilot is heard telling deputies. “You guys want to go in now. The driver’s out of the van.”

“Go, go, go, go,” a deputy says. “Block the van in and you should have more subjects at least.”

Two of the thieves made a run for it but got nowhere fast.

“We have two on the southeast side and two on the northeast side,” a deputy says in the video.

Another responds, “10-4. We have two on the northeast side.”

In the end, all four suspects received a ride to jail.

“They were professionals,” said Dan Miller, whose family business, JD Miller & Sons, has been in business for decades. “They knew what they were doing. They had it down to a science, and I’m sure they cased the place.”

Thieves tore through Miller’s fence and then did their dirty work.

The took all 12 tires from one truck at Miller’s business, in addition to rims and lug nuts. By the time they took off, the crooks ripped Miller off to the tune of nearly $20,000.

“We scurried around all day to buy tires and wheels,” he said about the aftermath. “It hurt us all the way around. That’s a pretty good bill. The tires and wheels, you know? And they even took the lug nuts.”

Some of the companies had security cameras in place. The owner of JD Miller & Sons thought the fence around their property would be enough.

Sgt. Try Morgan of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said the criminals were “extremely bold.”

Hillsborough County deputies said the four suspects not only stole from the businesses, they also ripped off the hard-working drivers who lost at least a day’s pay.

“If I had to describe it in one word it would be dirty,” Morgan said.  “You’re stealing from hard-working people.”

Investigators say there’s a black market for these tires and rims.  It’s all about supply and demand, they said.


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