Thieves stole wheels off a dealer display vehicle in front of SunTrust Bank early Friday morning.
Three wheels with tires were taken off the 2010 Ink Blue Ford Taurus owned by Culpepper Ford and later recovered at a mobile home near the bank on Jackson Street. The left rear was propped up by a cinder block, and the left front was raised by a jack. The only remaining wheel on the Taurus was the front right.
Marion Ivey, the business manager at Culpepper Ford, said he received a call from an unidentified passer-by at 8 a.m., notifying him of the theft. A few minutes later, he received another call from the owner of Affordable Auto Glass, which is next door to the bank.
"This is the first time it's happened in a prominent area downtown," Ivey said. "That's pretty courageous" to steal wheels in a highly visible area, he said.
The vehicle was parked in the grass next to the parking lot. Thomson Police Sgt. Marquis Murray said a review of surveillance tapes at the bank's ATM revealed no footage of the theft.
"We're working different angles," Murray said, including checking for fingerprints on the handle of the jack. "It's the first I've heard" of someone attempting to steal wheels off a dealer display vehicle in front of a bank.
Sgt. Jamie Smith, who works road patrol, goes on duty about 5 a.m. He noticed the vehicle missing its wheels, investigated and recovered them, Murray said.
The vehicle, with a magnetic sign reading "Call Now 595-4200" on the driver and passenger sides, had been parked at the bank about two weeks, Ivey said.
Culpepper has been placing display vehicles at downtown Thomson banks for several years.
"Banks are gracious enough to display them," Ivey said. "We have a good relationship with the banks."
Ivey said thieves stole four wheels with tires from a vehicle at the dealership at 2210 Washington Road a month ago. The four factory-installed wheels, valued at $1,200, were never recovered, Ivey said.
Anyone with information on the incident may contact Murray at (706) 595-2166.