Deputies: Trailers Easy Targets For Thieves
Collier County Sheriff's Office
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office is cautioning the community about a recent increase in utility trailer thefts in the area.
The majority of these thefts have been reported in CCSO’s Golden Gate Estates district in recent months.
Trailers – utility, boat, horse, wire, and mesh – are often the target of thieves so they can be resold to unwitting buyers looking for an inexpensive used trailer. Thieves also may target trailers to use for their own business/purposes.
If the trailers are recovered, it’s often difficult for law enforcement to return them to their owners because they aren’t registered anywhere.
Every trailer has a unique vehicle identification number, or VIN, when it is originally sold. Some are etched in the metal and others are on stickers, but owners often do not keep a record of their trailer’s VIN. Even if they did the numbers are easily removed or etched out, making it difficult to trace a trailer’s origins.
If you own a trailer, deputies ask that you take some of the following precautions to protect your property:
-Lock it. Heavy duty and reinforced locks such as a tire boot or trailer hitch lock are preferred because thieves may have tools to overcome lower quality products.
-Park in a well-lit area
-Park where there is a security camera, if possible. Consider incorporating your home surveillance system to include the location of a trailer.
-Record serial and vehicle identification (VIN) numbers and take a photo
- Place a unique engraving or marking on the trailer that only you know where and what it is. Photograph this and other unique identifiers to allow law enforcement to know it is your trailer if encountered in the future. Photograph the entire trailer.
-Back up the trailer against a wall or trees to prevent thieves from opening the rear door and stealing the contents from inside.
-Park a vehicle in front of it to minimize the suspect’s ability to pull their vehicle up to the tongue.
-Be alert for suspicious people or activity. This can include the suspect actually making an in-progress effort to steal it. But, it may also include reconnaissance efforts by the suspects for a future effort to steal it.
-Adding a hidden geolocation device can allow you to know if your trailer is moving and where it is.
If you see unusual or suspicious activity, contact the Collier County Sheriff’s Office. If it is a non-emergency, contact the CCSO nonemergency number at 239-252-9300. If it could be a crime in progress, call 911. If you have information on past occurred trailer thefts, call 239-252-9300, or to remain anonymous and be eligible for a possible reward, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-8477 (TIPS).
Trailer hitch lock Tire boot