Bill aims to fight thefts of tires and rims

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A series of tire and rim thefts in the northwest Bronx and the rest of the borough has prompted a councilman to propose legislation that would require all tires to contain serial numbers.

A spokeswoman for Bronx Councilman Fernando Cabrera said he decided to propose the law after the commanding officer of the 50th Precinct said during a November Community Board 8 meeting that rim and wheel theft were becoming a major concern to officers. The goal of the legislation, expected to be drafted after New Year’s, is to make it easier to track stolen tires.

“If [a stolen tire] shows up somewhere else, we can say, ‘Hey, this is coming from a car in a certain section of the Bronx,’” said Brittany Cesarini, the spokeswoman for Mr. Cabrera. “That will help with the investigation.”

Tire and rim thefts classify as grand larcenies. While there are no data specifically about that kind of theft, overall, grand larcenies so far this year in the 50th Precinct are up by 11.3 percent compared to the same timeframe last year. There have been 435 grand larcenies from Jan. 1 to Dec. 6, compared to 391 last year.

“It’s been happening for a long time. It’s going to happen to a lot of cars,” said Officer Juan Ventura, a spokesman for the 50th. “It happens here; it happens everywhere. I’ve seen a Mercedes on milk crates.”

According to Capt. Terence O’Toole, grand larceny of rims is one of the biggest issues his precinct deals with. He said rims are most often stolen from common, mid-size sedans like Hondas and Nissans.

Harry Melikian, the manager of the Mavis Tires at 5760 Broadway, said that the most common car he sees lose its wheels is the Honda Fit.

“Look, here’s the truth,” he said. “You get a very common car like that with four wheels, four tires, 20 to 25 lug nuts, you get about $3,000 in tires.”

Mr. Melikian estimated that tires worth $3,000 can fetch at least half that value on the black market.

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