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Police see increase in tire theft reports, particularly in apartment complexes

Atleast 4 garages impacted in Anne Arundel County, 2 had broken gates
tire theft.jpeg
Posted at 6:00 AM, Sep 12, 2023

BALTIMORE — Thieves aren’t just after cars, but their parts as well. Drivers have reported stolen air bags, catalytic converters, even car doors. Recently, in Anne Arundel County, there’s been an increase in tire thefts.

Residents in two separate apartment complexes say thieves were able to get into the parking garages and steal tires due to broken gates.

“The gate has been broken for about three months now, three months,” said Antonio Miranda, who resides at the Echelon at Odenton. “My son's car lost all four wheels and the rims.”

Yvonne Reed has lived at the Palisades at Arundel Preserve for roughly 10 years. “Now that we need security, no security, and the garage doors have been broken almost two years,” said Reed.

Atleast two other area apartment complexes were also hit by thieves.

WMAR-2 News reached out to property managers at the affected complexes. In an email, a spokeswoman with Southern Management Companies, which operates Palisades at Arundel Preserve, wrote in part:

“We have made substantial investments in the security of our communities throughout the region, including the Palisades at Arundel Preserve, and will continue to do whatever we can to protect our residents and their personal property. In the meantime, we will continue to work with local law enforcement agencies as they investigate these reported thefts and would ask that anyone with information contact the Anne Arundel County Police.”

She did not say when the garage doors would be repaired.

A spokeswoman with Mission Rock Residential, the property manager for the Echelon at Odenton, responded:

“Unfortunately, the community suffered a lightning strike on June 27th that impacted nearly every system in the building. We immediately ordered replacement equipment and were able to repair a majority of the issues. Two systems remain non-functional, but we expect the arrival of those materials by early [this] week so final repairs can commence.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Mission Rock Residential notified its residents that the security cameras are now working and the garage gate is scheduled to be replaced next Monday.

According to Marc Limanski, a spokesperson for Anne Arundel County Police, these thefts have gone up in the past two months.

“In 2022, we only saw 15 incidents of tire theft in those two months. This year, we've seen 45 reports. And by reports, I mean that could be multiple vehicles,” said Limanski. “It's very difficult to track these items. Some vehicle parts and accessories do have VINs attached to them or some identifying feature, but in most cases, it’s very hard to track them down.”

Limanski recommends parking vehicles in busy, well-lit areas and reporting suspicious activities to the police. However, tenants argue that they pay a premium for security and expect their cars to be secured.

"We pay a monthly fee for parking. The gates are open, and because the gates are open, everyone who isn't paying for parking is using the facility," said Sara Salvanes, a tenant at the Echelon at Odenton.

The consequences extend beyond inconvenience and frustration. Miranda said his son paid a $700 deductible to replace his stolen tires.

“The car wheels were stolen because the gate was not secure. And they could come in and out and take them. So, he incurred an insurance expense that he shouldn't have,” said Miranda.

Aside from wanting their property safeguarded, Reed also expressed concerns about her safety.

"I come home late at night, I don't know if someone's waiting to harm me. I'm just really afraid,” she said.

Anne Arundel County Police have a dedicated unit investigating stolen car parts and accessories. So far, there haven’t been any arrests in these cases.

WMAR-2 News Mallory Sofastaii also inquired whether security cameras were functioning during the thefts. She’s waiting to hear back.

For more information on the most commonly stolen vehicle components and how to protect your property, click here.