Island rental Jeeps, like the one above, have been targeted by tire thieves lately.
From one end of St. John to the other at the start of the New Year a costly mini-crime wave victimized three visitors to St. John — and their rental cars.
At 5:26 p.m. Friday, January 3, the log of calls at the Leander Jurgen Command in Cruz Bay listed a report that one G. Wagner of Connecticut was present at the police station to report “that someone stole a spare tire from their rental jeep in the area of Centerline Road and L’Esperance trail.” The incident was recorded as a Grand Larceny.
At 9:26 a.m. Wednesday, January 8, the log listed that a woman from Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, was present at the Leander Jurgen Command in Cruz Bay to report that someone stole the spare tire off her rental car while it was parked at Crabby’s Shack in Coral Bay. The incident also was recorded as a Grand Larceny.
At 10:23 a.m. the same day, a woman from Merrimack, New Hampshire, present to report that someone stole the spare tire off her rental car while it was parked at Bureau of Motor Vehicle lot. That incident, too, was recorded as a Grand Larceny.
The owner of one Cruz Bay car rental agency victimized confirmed that the cost of a new rim for a Jeep can be more than $250 and the cost of a tire more than $150, “if you can find one on island.”
An employee of another Cruz Bay car rental agency confirmed a tire theft from one of its customer — and the steep charge to the visitor who had rented the vehicle — but declined to comment further.
“It was expensive,” she said of the replacement cost for the tire stolen from her company’s vehicle — which was added to the customer’s credit card charge.
The owner of a rental car agency not affected by the recent thefts said his policy when a rental customer has a tire stolen is to charge the customer only his cost of buying a replacement tire.
“I put the customers on the phone with my supplier, so they know exactly how much it costs me,” said one rental agency owner.
Car rental agency owners — and visiting victims — can only hope the thefts will subside — at least once the thieves have a full set of tires.