A police officer in Grande Prairie, Alberta demonstrates how quickly a thief can take a tailgate.

Police in the southern British Columbia city of Abbotsford are hoping for an open-and-shut case following the arrest of a man suspected in the theft of more than 80 pickup truck tailgates.

David Ahner, 38, already has a long list of property crime offences to his name, and could soon be facing more, including three counts of theft over $5,000 and another of driving while disqualified.

The cops aren’t sure he’s behind all of the dozens of thefts reported since 2016, but they allege he did steal a trio of Ford F-350 tailgates in Langley and Abbostford.

Tailgate theft is serious business: Abbotsford police constable Ian MacDonald said they can cost up to $10,000 to replace and are often stolen because of the potential for high resale values.

It’s not a new trend, either. The CBC says there were similar strings of thefts in Maple Ridge, BC in 2016; and North Vancouver in 2013. Also in 2013, the CBC reported on a rash of similar thefts in Ottawa, and cited more than 500 cases of stolen tailgates across the United States over the course of the previous year.

In one CBC news story, a victim said thieves stole the tailgate off of his truck but left all the tools in the cargo bed.

Adding to the appeal for thieves is the fact tailgates are surprisingly easy to steal, with the entire process taking no more than a couple of minutes for an experienced crook.

Constable MacDonald said the easiest way to prevent tailgate theft is to lock it up, either with the truck’s key or central locking system, or by installing aftermarket locks on the hinges.

(via CBC)