Thieves Are Stealing Toyota Tacoma Pickup Truck Tailgates Like Mad in Hawaii

Toyota designed the Tacoma's tailgate to be easily removable. As it turns out, it's a little too easy to remove.

CHRIS DELORENZO

A series of truck tailgate thefts has Hawaiian pickup owners worried, especially those driving Toyota Tacomas.

CrimeStoppers Honolulu announced on May 10 in conjunction with the Honolulu Police Department that there has been a sudden wave of reports coming from Tacoma owners who say their tailgates have been stolen. Authorities believe that this problem stems from how easy it is to remove tailgates from Toyota's pickup trucks; one simply needs to open the tailgate, pull off the support cables, and then yank off the 'gate. A video below displays how simple this process is on a Toyota Tundra.

Ordinarily, a string of thefts—even related to a specific type of vehicle—would barely be news, but according to Educated Driver, the Toyota Tacoma is seven times more popular in Hawaii than the rest of the United States. Toyota is also the bestselling automaker in Hawaii, the only state in which it holds that title. As such, a string of Toyota tailgate thefts impacts a disproportionate number of Hawaiians, and it's better that they know how to prevent thefts—authorities advise owners to simply lock their tailgates or activate alarms to prevent thieves from stealing them.

But Toyota pickups being targeted by thieves isn't a phenomenon unique to the Aloha State. In 2017, the Los Angeles Times reported a similar situation unfolding in California, with at least six tailgates reported stolen in a span of 10 days. A quick search for used Tacoma tailgates reveals that the component costs hundreds of dollars to replace, making the theft and resale of Tacoma parts a rude, but lucrative source of income for perpetrators.

So regardless of where you live, the message is clear: lock up or shell out.