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Thieves stealing high-end tires and wheels

Navy sailor gets tires, wheels stolen

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Wheels and tires being stolen off cars, right where they're parked, and that's exactly what happened to one Jacksonville Navy man at his Southside apartment complex Sunday night.

It's something no one wants to wake up to, walking outside to get in your car and go to work, only to find the wheels are gone, but that's exactly what happened to Blake Pockrandt, and experts say it's happening more and more.

After returning from deployment overseas, Pockrandt went out and bought himself his dream vehicle. But only a year after getting it, Pockrandt can't even drive it.

"I noticed (my truck) was sitting a little higher. I could see it over one car in particular. It was a little higher than it normally is and when I got around that car, it was just sitting there with a stand in the front and a jack still underneath the back axle," Pockrandt said.

The truck is now at a body shop, sitting flat on the ground, still missing its tires.

"It kind of seemed surreal, like it couldn't have been real at that time. Then I instantly got out my phone and started taking some pictures real fast and called the police. Then I had to call my chain of command and let them know I couldn't be there," Pockrandt said.

Aaron Nelson, owner of Aaron's Car Care, said that from the wheels, to the tires, thieves can cash in quickly, all at a car-owner's expense.

"After the coast is clear, all they have to do is come back, jack (the car) up quickly, pull off the lug nuts and go," Nelson said. "And you figure, the price of tires, this tire, a Michelin, this is a 16-inch tire, that tire is probably $200."

News4Jax crime & safety analyst Gil Smith said that with more criminals going after high-end wheels and tires, it's important to take precautions, adding anyone could become a victim.

"That's why it's a good idea to have some type of locking device on the rims so it'll be more difficult for them to take them off," Smith said.

Pockrandt is driving a rental car, for now and said as soon as he gets his truck back, he's getting a top-notch security system installed, and keeping a very close eye out moving forward.

"I just don't know what else to do, you know? You lock your car, you go to bed, you don't expect this to happen to you," Pockrandt said.