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Shawnee police warn of increased tailgate theft on pickup trucks

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SHAWNEE, Kan. -- The Shawnee Police department is warning drivers with pickup trucks to be alert of the sudden increase in tailgate thefts.

Police say there have been five tailgates stolen in the month of July. Many of the tailgates were stolen at local businesses and in public parking lots.

Jeffrey Walters called it  an unexpected Sunday morning shock.

“I went into church and when I came out, my tailgate was gone,” said Walters.

Police say Walters is one of five people who have reported stolen tailgates this month alone.

“They’ve been all across the city, different times of the day," said Shawnee Police Major Dan Tennis. "It doesn’t take long. It can be done in under twenty seconds pretty easily."

Walter took to the Internet to find a replacement, and he showed FOX 4 what he bought.

“This is a replacement tailgate that I was able to locate off of EBay and buy," said Walters. "I was fortunate that it matched the color of my pickup.”

He also spent $50 on a tailgate lock. He calls it the price for peace of mind.

“Fifty dollars is worth it if it keeps my tailgate from getting stolen again," said Walters. "I was really mad at first, but once I thought about it and realized it was over, now [I realized] I just needed to figure out how to fix my problem.”

Shawnee Police offered the following tips on protecting your truck in a news release:

· Many newer trucks come supplied with a tailgate lock. If you have one
of these on your truck, always make sure to use it to secure your
tailgate.
· If you have an older truck, there are many available that can be
purchased to help you secure the tailgate to the truck and make
stealing it much more difficult.
· Always be aware of your surroundings. Keep a close eye on groups of
people hanging out and looking at trucks. If you see something
suspicious, call 9-1-1.

Anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at (816) 474-TIPS.