Tires, rims taken from 9 vehicles at Cheboygan County dealership

Courtesy: Cheboygan County Sheriff's Office

CHEBOYGAN COUNTY, Mi (WPBN/WGTU) -- Police are on the lookout for a group of thieves who stole tires off cars at Fernelius Ford and Lincoln in Cheboygan County. They believe it could be part of a larger string of thefts.

The Cheboygan County Sheriff's Department said the thieves used jacks to lift the cars. They took the wheels off and left the cars on bricks, damaging some of them.

Employees of the dealership showed up to work Saturday morning to find nine cars, including a customer's car, with the wheels missing.

“Everybody was shocked about it." said Justin Fernelius, the general manager. "I heard about it from a customer, the first ones to see it as they were driving past, and everybody was just kind of dumbfounded.”

The cars were left on patio blocks, causing damage underneath.

Investigators said the thieves would have needed several people to pull this off.

“This is going to be more than one or two people," said Undersheriff Tim Cook. "This is going to be a group of people coming into the dealership with some sort of a lookout system and loading these tires up into a large vehicle, a van or a box type truck in order to get this stuff out of here."

This is now believed to be the work of a professional thief ring responsible for a string of other similar thefts around Michigan.

At other dealerships, GPS monitors were also stolen from inside cars.

“We are learning that this has been going on for quite some time throughout the southern Michigan, Livingston County, Oakland County, Macomb County, some other counties down south, Ogemaw County." Cook said. "We believe this is the farthest they have come north.”

The dealership says the loss of tires and damage could total thousands of dollars.

“It’s unfortunate this happened at all," Justin Fernelius said. "Friendly up north community, I don’t know what to say.”

The dealership did not capture the theft on camera.

The Cheboygan County Sheriff's Department is now checking video from other businesses in the area.

Deputies are asking anyone who might have seen suspicious activity Friday night or Saturday morning to contact them at 231-627-3155.

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