HALFMOON — Twelve vehicles remained propped on rocks Monday — right where thieves left them — as New Country Toyota of Clifton Park tallied a loss of at least $48,000 in stolen wheels.
The incident happened between Saturday night and Sunday morning on Route 236 in Halfmoon. A car lot manager who came in to do some work Sunday morning alerted the Saratoga County Sheriff's Office to the crime, said New Country Toyota General Manager Michael Raucci. The lot is normally closed on Sundays.
Raucci posted photos of the theft aftermath to his Facebook page late Sunday morning, asking anyone who may have seen something to come forward. His post also addressed the thieves themselves: "To the dirtbags that decided to shop when we were closed last night and vandalize and steal from us, we will catch you!"
Raucci said on Monday he did not have a firm grip on the total cost of the crime.
Upon further inspection Monday, the general manager said he did not see any obvious exterior damage to the cars but added that he is leaving them on the rocks, as sheriff's deputies investigate.
“We’re letting investigators do their thing," Raucci said. "In terms of the damage, obviously it’s gonna be a lot.”
At the lowest estimation, the wheels stolen — including the rims and tires — go for about $1,000 each, according to Raucci.
Both Raucci and Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo said they have gotten promising leads from his Facebook post.
"We’re actively pursuing some leads, and we’ve been getting some tips from the public,” Zurlo said.
Raucci would not go into detail about the dealership's security system, out of concern for tipping off potential copycats, but he insisted that the lot will be secure.
“We’re gonna make it more difficult for these kind of things to happen,” he said.
Raucci praised the Sheriff's Office for moving swiftly in their investigation and hopes to use portable jack lifts to put new wheels on the cars, once deputies are finished with their investigation. He also was confident the resale values of the cars would not be drastically affected by the wheel thefts.
"It’s just wheels and tires," Raucci said. "There won’t be any difference.”