How to keep your car tires safe as wheel thefts spike

Posted at 8:56 AM, Feb 16, 2017

Metro Detroit continues to be the hot spot for “hot wheels”.

“More tires and rims are stolen in Southeast Michigan than any other part of the country,” says Terri Miller Executive Director of H.E.A.T. Help Eliminate Auto Theft.

In recent weeks, thieves have hit in Macomb Township, Livonia, Oakland County, Wayne County, Detroit.  The hot models have been Ford, but trends change and can include all makes and models of cars.

When certain wheel sets are in demand, orders can actually be placed with thieves who then go on the hunt.  They often hit in the middle of the night and the “good” thieves can get away with a set of four wheels in less than two minutes. 

They can then sell them for thousands of dollars when they are in high demand. 

The best defense is park your car inside a garage, or install a motion detector light, home surveillance cameras, a car alarm that will go off with a wheel theft and be on the lookout.

A quick call to police is the best way to stop these thefts.

Don Tremback of Livonia told 7 Investigator Jim Kiertzner that some thieves tried to use larger brick pavers he had in his front landscaping to prop up a car, but the blocks were glued together.  So they grabbed some smaller pavers nearby, and used only two sets one on each side of the car.  This saves time and they know to balance the car perfectly to get all 4 wheels.

Michigan law was changed last year to make it a 5-year felony to buy used car parts, including wheels, if certain procedures are not followed.

A buyer must get the VIN number of the vehicle, name, age and Driver’s License number and thumb print of the seller, and a complete record of the sale.

This is designed to curtail the illegal trade.  But the after market is still hot for wheels and often the law is ignored.

Anyone who sees a theft can report it to H.E.A.T at 1-800-242-HEAT or their website is