Local dealership loses tens of thousands in large-scale burglary

by: Lynn Casey Updated:

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TULSA, Okla —

Some brazen thieves make quite a haul from a Green Country car dealership.

When employees at the Patriot GMC Hyundai in Bartlesville went to check out the damage yesterday after someone told them there was a problem, they found all the trucks still in the lot. But many of them were up on cinderblocks without wheels. 

“The guy showed up to look at the particular vehicle and he said, ‘You have a problem. There’s a vehicle here that doesn’t have any wheels on it, or tires’,” says Tatton Manning, Patriot GMC Hyundai Dealer.

A customer went to look at a truck while Patriot GMC was closed Sunday and called an employee when he found trucks there without wheels.  

“Turns out it’s 19 vehicles that we don’t have wheels and tires for,” says Manning.

Everything about what they targeted and how they did it says these people knew what they were doing. 

“There are some pretty high-end wheels and tires on the new GMC Sierras. So they took 20 inch aluminum wheels and tires that go with them. They’re very expensive; they’re very nice,” says Manning.

The other reason they’re confident these guys knew what they were doing: there’s no other damage to the trucks; not to the wheel wells, and no dings or scratches on the bodies. 

“I’m not saying that they were trying to be careful, but I think they were just trying to be quiet,” says Manning.

They were quiet enough to steal $50-$60,000 worth of wheels and tires. Manning has been in business in Bartlesville since just March so he says it’s frustrating—but he’s trying to keep a good attitude. 

“This isn’t going to stop us. We’ll get better at what we do; we’ll make it harder for people to steal things from us but in the end it may happen again,” says Manning.

Bartlesville police say this was bold, even in their eyes. It’s not likely these thieves are selling their loot on craigslist. 

“They’ve probably got somewhere in mind that was waiting for them. You know they’re just picking them up,” says Sergeant David Hackler from the Bartlesville Police Department.

Manning says most people buy a truck with smaller wheels and tires and then upgrade to these, and sell off the cheaper wheels.  Most don’t take these off to sell. There are things you can keep an eye out for.

 “One of the things is these wheel pressure monitor sensors; they’re pretty expensive, they go inside the wheel. If somebody is selling those; if somebody is selling these 20 inch tires; if somebody says I can get you a set of four rims; these are just not things that are floating around everywhere,” says Manning.