Crooks put the hurt on car dealers - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Crooks put the hurt on car dealers

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

September 17, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Car dealers in Albany say crime is rampant.  The dealers say they are being targeted by thieves, and it could put them out of business if they don't get help.  Now these small business owners in Albany are asking you to help protect their lots. 

A 2001 Ford Expedition left on blocks by thieves.  The wheels and tires stolen by bold crooks just a few yards from Albany's busiest street.  And auto dealers say this type of theft is rampant.

"Just like every time.  I mean, it's happening all around town," said Lawson Auto Sales co-owner Donovan Broome.

Broome said it will cost him about two thousand dollars to replace the wheels and tires.  Add that to two stolen cars and one car damaged during an attempted theft, and crime has cost this dealership close to seven thousand dollars in two months.

"If it stays going at this rate, I mean it could literally put us out of business," Broome said

Just north on Slappey, Boswell Motorcars says crime is also costing them.

"Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds a month," said General Manager Ann-Marie Brown.

Boswell owners said numerous thefts  have made them take cars off their lot, to protect them.

"We've got over 30 cars in a warehouse to keep them from messing up anything else.  Therefore we can't sell anything we have in a warehouse," Brown said.

Lawson Auto Sales is parking their cars within inches of each other to make it tough for thieves to steal the wheels, but that still is not enough. Now auto dealers are asking your help watching their lots when you drive by at night, and call Police if you see suspicious people.

"It's happening all over, and we can't have all these small businesses here in Albany going out of business because of crime," Broome said.

Because thieves are targeting car lots, leaving their products on blocks.

The auto dealers say they are sure thieves are selling these wheels and tires on the streets, and they ask you to report anyone selling those items to Police.

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