Derek Scott Auto Park in Hearne was burglarized Saturday night -- but it wasn't cars that were stolen -- just parts of them. In fact, an estimated quarter of a million dollars’ worth of tires and rims were stolen from select trucks and SUV’s.
Having a car dealership towering over a busy highway is beneficial in more ways than one.
"We've been here at this lot for six years," said owner Derek Scott.
On the other hand, it also comes with disadvantages, and for the first time in six years, Derek Scott's Auto Park in Hearne became a target in a crime that's now costing him a quarter of a million dollars.
“We have three rotating cameras that pan the entire parking lot and even the grass area on the back, " explained Scott. "These people knew exactly what they were doing because they came in through the backside where the cameras don't shine, so, they had to have been in here before on several occasions.”
On Saturday night, police say thieves, who they believe scoped out the dealership in advance, hijacked heavy machinery from the county barn located next door…
“They went over to the precinct two county barn and cranked up the maintainer and just drove it through the fence to allow them better access to the vehicles," said Robertson County Sheriff Gerald Yezak.
The Robertson County Sheriff is calling this a well organized crime. While it's too early to tell exactly what time the crime occurred Saturday night, what we do know is as soon as the power to the parking lot was disabled, the thieves got to work -- leaving a fleet of 39 Trucks and SUV's -- on blocks.
“Whether it’s taking off the lug nuts or cutting the wires, each guy had a pre-meditated plan of attack,” explained Scott. “They basically raised the car up, pulled the wheels and tires off, put the blocks down and set the cars back down. I’m not sure how long they were here for, but I’d guess a few hours, but then again, they’re professionals, so I’m sure they did it quick.”
Scott says the thieves were selective in the operation. The suspects took off with 156 aluminum wheels and tires with each set ranging from $4,000 to $5,000.
“What's so obvious about the situation is they took the same style wheel and left the other styles, so they've got a need for the 20’ aluminum wheel and tire,” said Scott. “I don’t know if there is a certain market on that tire, but you’ll find they didn’t touch some vehicles because I guess it didn’t have what they wanted.”
Meanwhile similar crimes at dealerships across Texas are being looked into to see if they're connected.