Rising Trend in Auto Thefts Involving Oil Field Work Trucks

The lure of easy money in the oilfield has car thieves out in force. On Friday in the Academy parking lot, a man confronted two men he said were stealing his welding equipment.

It's hard to believe that someone had tried to steal the welding equipment in broad daylight, in one of the busiest parking lots in town. Wayne Erwin said he had just gone into Academy for a minute, and when he returned, he found two men taking everything they could get their hands on.

Erwin is a welder in the oilfield and had all of his own equipment packed in on his truck. He said the two men had pulled their pickup truck next to his and were loading up his stuff when he confronted them.

"I told them I was calling the law, and he said he'd been kicked out of his apartment and he needed money," Erwin said. "I said, 'Well I work for mine,' and then he jumped in his truck and they left."

"These guys need to get a job and quit getting things off of other people who actually do it for a living," said Rick Santos.

"If you were walking through a parking lot and you saw two guys moving stuff around in the truck, would you think anything about it? Especially a work truck, and it looked like they should be around the truck," said Lt. Chris White of the Corpus Christi Police Department's Auto Theft Task Force. "They're not acting suspicious. They're just loading and unloading, so it wouldn't trigger or register with you unless you know that it's a trend going on right now."

Investigators said that the crooks are hitting during the lunch hour up and down SPID. The thieves are looking for the oilfield work trucks that have cargo inside. That's because it is easy to offload, and then they can turn around and sell the stuff at a pawn shop and make good money.
Police are asking for people to keep a close eye out for these thieves and report it. They would like for you to write down their license plate and get a description of the thieves.

The Auto Theft Task Force said that, at one time, the truck burglaries accounted for about a third of all their break-ins. That number has dropped, but there are still victims out there.


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