Florida Truck-Owners Suffering As Tailgate Theft Becomes Popular Crime

Tailgating has become one of the most popular aspects of sports throughout the U.S., where people gather before and after sporting events to share meals, tales and good-natured jabs about their favorite teams. However, many are gathering around what is now a tail-bed without a gate. Many pickup trucks and other vehicles with tailgates are becoming victims of tailgate theft, or stealing the gate right off the back of the truck.

A new Florida law that took effect in July last year requires proof of ownership for those trying to sell certain commonly stolen items including, street signs, manhole covers and air conditioner parts. These laws were supposed to make it harder for crooks to profit from reselling stolen parts. The new law also allows police to charge suspected metal thieves, even if they’re not caught red-handed. Fewer cases have been reported since the law went into effect. However, theft crimes of this nature always see a resurgence, but with a different valuable item. untitled%20%282%29.png

Tailgate theft in Florida is not a complicated task. It only takes a matter of seconds for someone who knows how to take a tailgate off to actually take the tailgate off. Stolen tailgates are used for replacement parts just like other parts, are seen as easy targets. There is a large number of trucks on the highways, and many of those trucks have damaged tailgates. Rather than having the gate professionally repaired, many will buy a tailgate from a junkyard that might not even match the same color of the truck, but operates as a tailgate. Because of the demand for the tailgates and their high value, people steal them. Others may only steal the tailgate to replace their own one that has been damaged.

Many times the tailgate is not the only part of the vehicle stolen. Many times, if the vehicle is older or might be considered a junk vehicle, the vehicle will be targeted for a total theft and subsequent resale at a scrap-yard, before being paid in cash. In order to combat these particular types of crimes, the law was recently passed which made it illegal for salvage companies and others to salvage such a car for scrap metal or strip it for parts without the title to the vehicle.Many times, the real target was the tires and rims, stereos and even catalytic converters of the vehicle, rather than the vehicle as a whole.

Requiring the person selling the vehicle to the salvage yard to provide the title to the vehicle presumably lends some legitimacy to the transaction and helps prevent people from quickly selling stolen vehicles to the salvage company, although fake titles are fairly common and many people keep their titles in the glove compartment.Task forces have been created in order to battle the ever popular and lucrative crime of metal theft.

One of the biggest problems with dealing in stolen property crimes cases is that when one has bought the stolen item, one might not have known that the item was stolen and had one known it was, one would not have bought it. However, the State Attorney will try to paint the image in reverse. Remember, a specific defense to the crime of Dealing in Stolen Property is the defense of satisfactory explanation. In general, a person cannot be convicted of Dealing in Stolen Property if the person can satisfactorily explain how they came to be in possession of the stolen property without knowing that it was stolen.

In Jacksonville, some judges can be particularly tough on theft crimes, more so than other judges. These situations can sometimes leave some first time offenders in worse situations than second or third time offenders because of the judge they come before. In these situations, one needs an experienced Jacksonville theft crimes defense attorney to mount the best defense possible, so that no matter what judge one goes before, one will have a better chance of having a more favorable set of circumstances, possibly even acquittal.


The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

Additional Sources:Tailgates a prime target for thieves, Tom Smith, TimesDaily.com