Norman is kind of a sketchy place. I mean that in a good way. Usually, you can kind of smell marijuana on Main Street after dark, you know half the people in the bars can’t possibly be of legal drinking age, and we don’t have open container laws on game days. Basically, it’s like the wild, wild west with outlaws running the city. If I saw someone wearing chaps and brandishing a six-shooter, I wouldn’t even be surprised. Well, I kind of would, because Pistol Pete isn’t really welcome in Norman.
Anyway, the crime in Norman just got a little more serious. Instead of drunken college kids and hipsters getting high in between shows at the Opolis, we have some crazy car thieves moving in.
NORMAN, Okla. – Thieves are plaguing a Norman car dealership. So far they’ve stolen 12 cars in two months from Reynolds Ford and Reynolds Mazda.
Surveying his lot for missing cars is now routine for the owner of the dealerships, Dale Daniels.
“They do have some nerve,” said Daniels.
Nerve he hasn’t witnessed in his 45 years of working at dealerships. Criminals took five cars from his lot in one day last week.
“We do feel violated,” Daniels says.
Daniels says the criminals have taken Jeeps, trucks and sports cars. They start the vehicles by getting the key from the lock box that hangs on each vehicle’s window.
“We have found some of these boxes totally destroyed like it was hit with a sledge hammer,” said Daniels.
In one instance, the criminals got a truck stuck in the mud while trying to drive it off the lot. The thieves bailed and left the truck behind.
Police called Salesman Randy Priest, and he put the truck back on the lot.
However, the thieves came back the next night and successfully stole it.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Priest. “That’s so much gall there. That surprised me.”
Police say these criminals have even been so bold as to strike in the early morning hours while employees are working in the service area.
The cars are difficult to trace. There are no tags, only vin numbers.
There are no security cameras at the lot either. Daniels says the technology is not worth the cost for the grainy pictures you usually get.
He has removed the keys from the lock boxes, and he keeps the parking lot lit throughout the night.
He’s not giving up on his hunt for the thieves.
He’s offering a $5,000 reward to the first person to turn in the thieves.
There’s some saying that is basically like “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, and you can totally come and take that truck you got stuck in the mud when you tried to steal it the first time.” It’s one thing to assume that the thieves had “gall” to steal something a second time. But, can I just say that I think it takes a little more gall to not take extra precautions when five cars are taken from your lot in one day?
Also, how are these criminals striking in the early morning hours while employees are in the service area? Do the employees not hear anything? Do they not suspect anything after these thieves have been so brazen? Is this an inside job or some sort of insurance scam put on by the dealership? Who knows? What I do know is this:
Cars generally cost more than the $5,000 being offered as a reward. So, if I knew a person who was so good at stealing cars, I would probably ask them to get me a new car rather than just take some cash. It’s just good business sense, really. Or, I may just start my own version of Gone in 60 Seconds, since KFOR let me know that those cars are hard to trace, and Reynold’s doesn’t have any sort of security cameras.
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