Tire Thieves Hit Va. Commuter Lot for 3rd Time

Prince William County Police plan to step up patrols and deploy temporary, mobile cameras in a park-and-ride lot that's been targeted three times by thieves. The target: Expensive tires.

Two car owners returned to the Horner Road Park & Ride Lot#5 Friday after work to find their vehicles propped up on landscaping blocks, all four tires missing. One of the men had just bought his new Mustang in August.

"I always worried about dings in the door. I never once thought about the rims being stolen," said John, who did not want his last name used.

It's the third time in five months the lot has been hit. Vernon Londagin was one of four victims May 28.

"I got a rude awakening. I pulled up around 4:15 p.m. and see the car sitting on milk crates. It was one of four hit that day," said Londagin.

On top of the tires being stolen, there was also significant damage to the frame and undercarriage.

In early September, four more cars were left without tires. Windows were also broken out of some of them.

Jeanette Whiten has slugged from the Horner Road Park & Ride for 15 years.

"We've always been proud we've never had problems with slugging coming home, and then to have something like this happen is really sad," said Whiten.

Commuters who have heard about the tire thefts also fear what could happen if someone interrupts the thieves or sees what they are doing.

"If you are waiting (to commute) and see somebody actually committing the crime and you are a witness, they may try to do something to you," worried Whiten.

She and Londagin believe VDOT, which owns the lot, should install security cameras.

But a VDOT spokeswoman said there is not a plan to do that. The VDOT cameras only capture real-time events. They do not record.

But Prince William County police do have a plan to address commuters' concerns. Spokesman Jonathan Perok said police plan to increase patrols, both with marked cruisers and plainclothes officers. The temporary, mobile cameras will also be used.

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