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Coldwater dealership latest in string of West Michigan tire thefts

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COLDWATER, Mich. -- Michigan State Police are investigating a string of tire thefts at West Michigan car dealerships, including one this week in Coldwater.

Police say there have been a handful of thefts across West Michigan since June, and that there may be just one group responsible for them all.

"It's somebody who's definitely done this before and knows what they're doing," said Michael Evon, a sales professional at Royal Chevrolet in Coldwater.

Employees at Royal Chevrolet say thieves came in Wednesday night and stole wheels and tires off five vehicles on their lot. They targeted GMC Acadias.

"It's a lot of damage," Evon said. "$25,000 to $30,000 just in wheels and tires, not to mention damage to the vehicles they let fall on the ground."

State Police say the people behind this clearly aren't amateurs.

"Usually they're going for the high-dollar vehicles," said F/Lt. Jim Coleman with the state police Marshall post.  "And then they'll steal the rear tires and put them back down on rear blocks, and take some more."

Coleman says the thefts at Royal Chevrolet are the fifth theft at a car dealership in West Michigan since June.  He believes they're all connected.

"It would surprise me if they were separate, 'cause I mean just the MO, the way they do it," he said.

He said someone will case the lot earlier in the day, then they come in at night, lift the vehicles and take the wheels.  They're done in about 10 minutes.

Police are actively looking for the suspects and the staff at Royal Chevrolet want to get back to business.

"It definitely is a big slow in our business," Evon said. "Every Acadia that we have on our lot is now unsellable."

Evon says it will be a few weeks before the vehicles are repaired and read to sell again.

Anyone with information on these thefts is asked to call state police at 269-364-3888.

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