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Thieves targeting Hillsborough neighborhood, stripping cars of tires and rims

Value of stolen property in thousands of dollars
Posted: 4:51 PM, Sep 21, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-21 17:40:48-04

HILLSBOROUGH Co., Fla. — Thieves are targeting a Hillsborough County neighborhood, stripping cars of tires and rims then leaving them on paver blocks.

According to a search warrant, between June 27 and August 27 there have been at least six incidents. The areas hit include a busy stretch between East Hillsborough Ave and North 47th Street.

On the stretch, it's all about cars — from dealerships, repair shops and part shops like Rim Masters.

“Yes, we’ve had a couple of thieves throughout the years," said manager Mesha Pinckney.

Pinckney says in the decade they've been here they've seen the aftermath of such crimes. Cars are usually left on paver blocks and their expensive rims and tires, gone.

“They can start from anywhere from $300 to $3,000 per wheel," said Pinckney.

Now it's happening again and Pinckney's store was one of the ones hit, except she says they didn't know until we told them.

“That’s news to us but I don’t know maybe it was a customer car sitting outside," she said.

According to a search warrant, thieves have been targeting the Seffner and East Tampa areas. Anthony Jarrett was identified on surveillance video propping up cars and stealing the parts. The warrant says another man was helping him.

Two months later, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office deputies surveilled him and saw him taking a rim from Rim Masters. Deputies arrested Jarrett for charges including burglary and grand theft in connection to at least two of these six thefts in the area.

ABC Action News asked HCSO whether his partner was identified and arrested. We also asked whether they believe there could be other suspects out there responsible for these recent cases but haven't heard back. 

Pinckney calls the crime an annoyance but something they won't dwell on. While they made no claim on their insurance, she explains it would cover any theft like this. However, like any insurance, claims would increase their costs.

"It’s costly to the business, it’s costly to the owner of the business, it’s costly to the customers," said Pinckney.

Another store owner in the area told us law enforcement paid them a visit warning them to be on alert because of this crime.