MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Truck thieves struck a Memphis man not once, but twice, and WREG learned that’s not uncommon.
Eric Harris lives in South Main, in one of the safest ZIP codes in Memphis. Last spring, he says he parked his Chevy Silverado truck on a street near Big River Crossing.
“Then it was gone. That’s pretty much how it worked. Car had an alarm system, and I thought it was pretty safe and secure. Evidently it was not,” he said.
He called police, who explained to him that Chevys have a high rate of theft.
Investigators later recovered his truck in South Memphis, stripped and barely recognizable.
Months later, Harris’s frustrations wore off. He decided to replace his old truck with another Chevy Silverado.
“Same alarm system parked in a place I thought was safe and secure,” he said.
Turns out, he was wrong. Just weeks later, Harris stepped outside and noticed his truck was gone again.
“I questioned myself. Did I park it around the corner?” Harris said. “Is it in the gate? There’s no way this is happening again. It did.”
Once again, he called police and heard the same thing: “Chevys are very popular.”
Police didn’t find Harris’ truck until they showed up to a hit-and-run in January. The front end of the vehicle was smashed into a tree.
Officers believe before this happened, his truck was also used in an aggravated assault.
“I was very irritated,” said Harris.
That feeling is shared by many. The Memphis Police Department shared the latest stats with WREG.
They show the number of reported vehicle thefts on a steady rise since 2016.
Police said only a fraction of the cars were recovered. They also told us of the 4,400 cars stolen last year, 345 were Chevy trucks. They claim it’s one of the most stolen vehicle makes, along with as Fords and Nissans.
Chevrolet’s communications team sent us a statement. In part they wrote, “While we will surely continue to combat theft by installing in-vehicle security measures, we also encourage owners to make a conscious effort to lock the doors and take the keys out each time the vehicle is left alone.”
They also suggested drivers invest in OnStar. They said it can track stolen vehicles using GPS and also disable the vehicle’s engine.
WREG spoke to car mechanic Jason Huffman, who also had his GMC truck stolen. His truck and Chevys are manufactured by the same company.
“Posted on Facebook. It was shared over 700 times,” he said.
Police later recovered his truck in South Memphis with parts missing.
“The parts sell really fast on them. They strip them, ditch them and they are making money. They are worth more in parts than they are whole,” he said.
Huffman said parts are hard to track, which may be why they’re so appealing.
“It’s all over Facebook. Engines, parts, vendors, doors. I mean you name it, you can buy it cheaper than buying it from anywhere else,” he said.
As for Harris, he said there’s more to blame like where he parked his car. He said he doesn’t see enough police and there are no cameras.
“It’s like a dead zone from where we are to the Big River Crossing,” he said.
MPD said it has no plans of putting cameras in that stretch.
A spokesperson said it’s important if you park there or anywhere else in the city to make sure you lock your doors, don’t leave valuables out and never leave your car running.
“They start thinking this is easy pickings then we are in trouble. That`s what we don’t want,” said Harris.