Police Set-Up Nets Serial Tyre Thief
A serial tyre thief in the US has been called to account for his deeds after walking into a police trap. Surveillance video released to Florida television station WFTV 9 shows a man, identified as Phu Tran, entering the car dealership where he was previously employed and rolling tyres out the door, unaware that law enforcement officers were waiting to strike. And police knew Tran would, sooner or later, be tempted to help himself to the rubbery circles – tyres and rims had been mysteriously disappearing from the Ford dealer for the last three months.
The video shows Tran casually making his selection from a stack of tyres and carried a total of eight downstairs and outside the building. Before he could add a ninth to his ill-gotten collection, however, Tran was taken down by a police dog. Upon inspecting the captured tyre thief two unexplained aspects of the serial crime were revealed to police: The baffling lack of fingerprints at the scene of previous thefts was solved when vigilant officers detected a pair of rubber gloves covering Tran’s hands, and a key to the dealership dangling from his key ring is, say police, the most likely means of explaining the absence of a forced entry.
“Apparently, he’s done it enough that he was comfortable he wouldn’t be caught,” said Sergeant John Resh of the Palm Bay Police Department. Police suspect Tran may have taken more than US$20,000 in tyres, rims and DVD players in the last three months.
Tran appeared in court on July the 8, and was charged with commercial burglary, grand theft and resisting arrest. The former employee refutes these charges, however: when the judge stated Tran was seen taking tyres from the dealership, the defendant replied that this was not so. A high point in the day’s court proceedings presumably came when, in a moment of unrehearsed mirth, the judge responded to Tran’s defence that he was simply a part of the dealership’s ‘clean up crew’ by quipping “clean up crew? More like the clean out crew.”
Police believe Tran worked alone, and that the stolen goods were sold in the local area and through classifieds.