HOUSTON – Oak Forest resident Chris Mallia didn't know his neighbor until recently, but it wasn't a festive block party that brought them together in their northwest Houston subdivision. He reached out to warn them about a neighborhood crime.
Mallia said he came home Sunday around 11 p.m. and parked his truck outside his house.
"I got up in the morning, looked outside to see if it had rained during the night and my truck was gone out of my driveway," he said.
Mallia posted the theft on the Oak Forest neighborhood Facebook page, where he quickly learned he wasn't the only victim.
"Once I started getting all the other comments about all the other (Dodge) Rams being stolen, it seemed like it was a bigger issue than just someone taking it for a joyride," Mallia said.
It turned out one of his neighbors had surveillance of a truck theft. Four Dodge Ram trucks, two Jeep Cherokees, one Cadillac Escalade and a Chevy Suburban have disappeared from local driveways over the past few months.
"It feels as though they have some sort of master key or computer system that’s allowing them access to the vehicle," Mallia said. "If you look at the Jeep keys and the Ram keys, it’s the same system."
Investigator Jim Woods with the Houston Police Department Auto Theft Division said he’s not surprised thieves are targeting these makes and models.
"Pickup trucks are always (going to) be the top stolen vehicles in the city of Houston because they're valuable," Woods said.
According to HPD reports, Chevy trucks were the top stolen vehicle in Houston — 192 were taken from their owners — during the month of May. Next on the list are Dodge Rams, with 53 stolen in the same month. Seventeen Jeeps were also reported stolen, making that brand the third-biggest target in Houston.
The remaining cars on the list (in order from most to least reported) included:
- 53 Dodge trucks
- 52 Honda cars
- 46 GMC trucks
- 40 Nissan cars
- 40 Toyotas cars
- 29 Ford cars
- 22 Dodge cars
- 20 Toyota trucks
- 17 Chrysler cars
- 17 Jeep trucks
- 17 Nissan trucks
HPD is investigating the thefts in the Oak Forest neighborhood.
In the meantime, Woods encourages owners to be smart when it comes to protecting their vehicles.
He strongly suggests buying some type of kill device. Or something that allows owners to disable the car if someone breaks into it, making it impossible to start the car.
If you want to go a step further get some type of tracking device. It doesn’t stop the vehicle from being stolen but it hopefully will allow police to be able to track it and recover it.
It is also recommend that drivers park in a garage whenever possible.