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Tailgate theft reminds truck owners of common crime

Replacement costs anywhere from $1,000-$3,000

SAN ANTONIO – A Northeast Side man not only fell victim to one of the most common vehicle thefts early Thursday morning, but captured the two men who stole his tailgate on surveillance video.

"I was feeling upset and very mad," Brian Hamby said of the news he got early Thursday morning from his wife.

The San Antonio resident has spent nearly the last five years making sure his family's home is secure.

He said the tailgate was stolen just after 1 a.m.

"(I) didn't hear anything," Hamby said.

His home surveillance footage shows two men walking up to his truck. Hamby believes that it took the thieves three to four minutes to walk away with his tailgate, even though he had two locks installed on it.

When KSAT-12 called several local salvage yards, none of them had in stock the exact tailgate that was on Hamby's 2015 Ford F-350. Employees said they could order one, but it would cost anywhere from $2,500 to $3,000 after shipping.

Drive in Truck Salvage owner Billy Mayes showed just how easy and quick it is to remove a tailgate. He recommends that truck owner buy a clamp similar to ones used over engine hoses to secure tailgates a little  better.

"Every single day we get calls, people asking us if we by chance have got reports of people bringing their tailgates in (or) somebody trying to sell us a stolen tailgate," Mayes said.

Mayes' business no longer accepts any loose merchandise off a vehicle. Mayes said strict laws prohibit him from buying or selling stolen items.

"Somebody's going to sell it for $500 on Craigslist just to somebody wanting a cheap tailgate," Mayes said.

Hamby said he has filed a police report and a claim with his insurance.

"Please don't do this anymore," he asked of the criminals. "It's not the right thing to do. There's other roads in life to take."

The National Insurance Crime Bureau is expecting a new tailgate theft report out this summer. As previously reported in 2014, San Antonio ranked No. 2 nationwide for tailgate thefts.