Tulsa Police Auto Theft investigators have recovered more than 25 stolen cars and made a dozen arrests, just in the last couple of weeks.
Tulsa ranks top 15 in the country for car thefts and investigators are more determined than ever to change that.
Lieutenant Chase Calhoun said he and his team have two goals: find stolen cars and arrest thieves. They also want to educate people so they are not easy targets.
Calhoun said using bait cars to catch car thieves is just one of many tactics they are using.
He said the TPD auto theft unit averages about 4,000 stolen vehicle reports a year. They place bait cars in areas based on data that show the hot spots, hoping to catch a thief.
“We are dealing with a lot of things as far as stolen vehicles. You have joyriders, and you have guys who are taking cars and changing the VIN numbers on them, putting fraudulent VINs on there to sell to try to make a profit. We are dealing with cars that have been stripped, or parted out,” said Calhoun.
Calhoun recently took over the unit and said their proactive approach is paying off. In the last couple of weeks, they have served two search warrants, inspected six salvage yards and found stolen cars at five of them.
He said they’ve recovered more than 25 stolen cars and arrested a dozen people.
“Ultimately as police officers, we can only do so much. We really need the community to help us,” said Calhoun. “We need them to do little things like quit leaving their keys and key fobs in the car, keep their vehicles locked.”
Calhoun said they are targeting well-known car thieves.
Right now they are searching for Thurman Wilson, who has three felony warrants for stealing cars.
Records show Wilson has been arrested several times in the last 20 years for stolen cars, stolen property, and drugs.
If you have any information about Wilson or know where he is, call Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS. There could be a cash reward.