Thieves Still on the Run After Repeatedly Stealing Wheels Off Police Cars in Mississippi
Stealing to sell or a vendetta against the police? Either way, after multiple reported thefts there aren’t any suspects.
Thieves in Jackson, Mississippi have gotten away with the wheels of up to four police cars in two separate theft incidents. It's unclear if the thieves are motivated by the financial gain from selling the parts to others, or simply by "sticking it" to the police.
According to news channel WLBT, the first known incident occurred on the evening of March 2, when a squad car parked outside the Jackson Police Department (JPD) was hit by thieves. The Ford Crown Victoria was eventually found in the morning without its wheels, suspended at each corner by large rocks and its lug nuts discarded nearby.
It appears that the same individual (or group thereof) was emboldened by their success, because WLBT later reported that a second wheel theft happened sometime around April 6. However, this time JPD reportedly found not one, not two, but three additional Crown Victorias with their wheels missing, but this time they were parked outside a police museum downtown. Authorities only discovered the theft on Saturday, and reportedly aren't sure when it may have happened, suggesting that the patrol cars were sitting there unused for some time.
A photograph of the three squad cars made its way to social media, courtesy of the local news station. The JPD has not yet reported any arrests related to the investigation of wheel thefts.
Ford Crown Victorias are gradually being phased out of active duty with law enforcement agencies nationwide, especially since Ford ceased production of the model back in 2011. Their sturdy construction makes them reasonably popular on the used car market, as does the availability of parts. This opens the possibility that the wheels were stolen to be either resold or used on a civilian-owned Crown Victoria or its "Panther body" badge brethren, such as the Lincoln Town Car or Mercury Grand Marquis.
Whoever is stealing these wheels seemingly isn't targeting the more modern cruisers that are out on patrol, ergo, vendetta theft as an anti-police demonstration seems unlikely. Going after on-duty police cars would be how one would make a statement, rather than plucking wheels from mothballed, almost-forgotten Crown Vics. The JPD might want to keep one eye on Craigslist, but also consider planting a tracker inside a tire or wheel as bait for these seemingly greedy thieves.