(Updated at 4:00 p.m.) About half a dozen Arlington residents have woken up to find their car up on blocks over the past month.
Arlington County police have been responding to a seemingly increasing number of wheel thefts. Thieves have been been stealing the wheels — rims, tires and all — from parked vehicles in the middle of the night. So far, all of the thefts confirmed by ARLnow.com have taken place in south Arlington, but a tipster reported a “rash of wheel thefts” in the Madison Manor neighborhood of north Arlington in late October.
The most recent incident was reported Monday, Dec. 3. Two vehicles — a Dodge Challenger and a Dodge Magnum — had wheels stolen on the 2700 block of S. Veitch and S. Lang Streets. Meanwhile, two SUVs in the Riverhouse apartment parking lot on S. Joyce Street have had wheels stolen since the beginning of November. And a car on the 4700 block of Arlington Boulevard had two wheels stolen during Hurricane Sandy.
Police say they don’t have much to go on this point.
“We don’t have a very good suspect description right now,” said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “But we know it’s more than one person.”
Sternbeck said the suspects are likely driving a vehicle large enough to haul a set of four wheels, possibly a van or a truck. Residents should be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles or activity in their neighborhoods at night, he said.
Police say vehicle owners can protect themselves by using lug nuts or wheel locks, and by parking in well-lit and high traffic areas. If given the choice of parking in a garage or outside, police recommend parking inside the garage.
“An ongoing goal of ours is to prevent this,” Sternbeck said.