Tire Thieves Strike Again, Teen Arrested

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Omaha police made an arrest for attempted tire theft Wednesday morning. A search of the suspect's car found license plates and cinder blocks.

A 2004 Chevy Impala received an upgrade, five shiny new lug nuts, $7 worth. It was a fantastic deal if you ask the car's owner, Forest Self of Omaha. “I can't complain too much."

That's because around 3:45 a.m., residents of the Pine Tree Apartments near 104th and Hamilton noticed what could have been an expensive problem. “That's a lot of money to replace tires.” Four youngsters were removing tires from his car. “My left rear tire on a cinder block, right rear tire missing lug nuts."

It seems they were looking for a tire upgrade to their car. “The vehicle that was parked next to mine was the exact same make and model, same color and everything,” said Self.

Only Channel 6 News was there soon after police arrested a 17-year-old. The rest of his crew ran. Three of the suspected thieves got away, but they left behind a jack, two cinder blocks and perhaps this will lead police to them. They left behind their cell phones.

Just last Friday, our camera was the only one at 54th and O streets as the SWAT team swarmed the home of Thomas Leuck. Detectives believe he was the mastermind of a serial tire theft ring targeting vehicles in west Omaha and Sarpy County. A number of frustrated owners woke up to four cinder blocks and no tires. While they believe Leuck had help in his crime spree, at this point investigators don't believe this latest case is connected.

As for Self, he made it to work Wednesday after a quick trip to the auto store to pick up lug nuts. It could have been worse if not for his neighbors. “I couldn't say thank you enough to them. I was very, very appreciative that someone was able to hear it and call the cops."

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