GALESBURG, Mich. — When the staff at the Ford dealership arrived to work Thursday morning, they didn’t expect to see their cars damaged. Tires and wheels on nine Ford Explorers, Expeditions and F-150s, were missing. Sales manager Darrin Rinehart said he’s still in shock.
“You hear about things like this happening,” said Rinehart during an interview at the dealership on M-96. “But the fact that it happened to us in such grand scale was really surprising to me.”
The Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office said it happened some time overnight. The group of thieves went on to the property and targeted the most expensive vehicles. They allegedly propped up the nine vehicles, put them on cinderblocks, removed the lug nuts and slipped off the tires. The total coast in damages: $150,000.
“There was a method to what went on there and it was somewhat organized,” said Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Pali Matyas. “There was a plan out there. I don’t think it was somebody who just drove by and said ‘Hey let’s go ya know take 30, 40-something tires.’”
Undersheriff Matyas said there were another half dozen vehicles with their lug nuts lying on the ground next them. It appeared they tried to take them as well but couldn't. Typically, these incidents happen in matter of minutes.
“They attempted to steal a van on our lot,” said Rinehart. “They removed the ignition and the rear seats, probably in order to steal additional wheels and tires but were unsuccessful.”
There’s been reports in recent months of thefts happening in other towns throughout the state. Undersheriff Matyas said they may not be connected. This one happened “out of the blue.” But deputies are investigating it, talking to people and reviewing security tapes. They’re asking anyone with tips to call the Sheriff’s Office at 269-383-8748 or the Silent Observer at 269-343-2100.
“There’s a lot of tires out there and they’re going to go somewhere,” said Undersheriff Matyas. “I’m sure somebody has some information they can supply.”