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Residents say criminals are targeting vehicle tires

It seems to be happening more and more across the City of Milwaukee, car owners finding their vehicles up on cinder blocks, missing tires.

People who live and work in River West told CBS 58 this crime trend began in June, it went away, and then tires started coming up stolen again in the past few weeks.

But a manager at one local auto shop says a wheel lock can stop the criminals in their tracks.   

To deal with a string of tire thefts, Manyo Motors located at the corner of Bremen and Locust is offering to install wheel locks on anyone's vehicle, and not charge for labor.

Manager Joe Kreuser told CBS 58 that he has seen countless vehicles in River West end up on cinder blocks.

"Just last week I saw a brand-new Psion down the street here sitting on blocks,” Kreuser said. “Obviously, they’re after the newer vehicles with aluminum wheels on them."

It doesn't appear that the bad guys are targeting a specific kind of vehicle, but Kreuser said the key to stopping them is by putting on a wheel lock.

"There around it over so you can’t get a socket on them,” Kreuser said. “You can’t get any type of normal tool on it. You need to have the key that comes with that lock, which is a special configuration to fit the new nugget."

People are talking about the crime trend on face book.

CBS 58 found two pictures of cars recently targeted, including this one from early Wednesday morning on North Avenue and Summit, right across from Columbia Saint Mary’s hospital.

Claudine Lienau took the picture of one of the cars targeted, and said this crime trend is bleeding the neighborhood dry.

"Because this is still a working-class neighborhood and if your car disappears or your tires disappear, most of us have high deductibles on our insurance,” Lienau said.

CBS 58 reached out to Milwaukee police Wednesday night to get more information on the number of reports regarding stolen tires.

The PD said they're not able to provide those details on Wednesday.

The people CBS 58 spoke with in River West said they believe the crooks are taking the stolen tires to junk yards or selling them on websites like Craig’s list for quick cash.

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