Tailgate Thieves Want Your Pickup

Tailgate Chevy copy

By Larry Edsall

Consider yourself warned: Your pickup truck's tailgate is coveted by thieves.

"The rate of tailgate theft claims has been increasing since 2009, with an 18 percent increase projected from 2011 to 2012," according to a report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Founded in 1912 as the National Automobile Theft Bureau to investigate vehicle thefts, for more than 20 years the NICB also has looked into various forms of automotive insurance fraud.

Its report on the theft of catalytic converters spurred a growth industry in converter security devices. Now, the theft of pickup truck tailgates has become so significant that the bureau has issued a report about them.

Because the NICB report tracks only claims made by vehicle owners to insurance companies - and therefore its numbers don't represent actual theft activity - it speculates that the numbers in the report are low. Nevertheless, between 2006 and 2009 only 23 tailgate thefts were processed nationally. The figure for 2010 was 430 and grew to 472 in 2011. Through Sept. 30, 2012, 418 claims had been made; the NICB projects the 2012 final total will be more than 550.

Among states, Texas residents reported the most tailgate thefts, followed by those living in California, Arizona, Florida and Nevada. The cities posting the most tailgate thefts were Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Phoenix and Fresno in Northern California.

"Tailgates can be stolen in less than 30 seconds, making them prime targets of opportunity," the NICB report says. "With replacement costs reaching $1,000 or more, it makes sense for pickup owners to make their tailgates less attractive to thieves."

To make your tailgate difficult to steal, NICB recommends taking the following actions:

1. Lock your tailgate if it has a factory-installed lock. If not, an aftermarket replacement latch assembly with a lock may be available for your truck.

2. Park with your truck's tailgate as close as possible to a building or other large object that prevents the tailgate from being opened.

3. Etch the truck's vehicle identification number or a personal identification number into the tailgate. This may prevent it from being stolen or at least make it easier to recover if it is stolen.

Why do people steal tailgates?

"People want them," said Frank Scafidi, spokesman for the NICB. "If theirs gets banged up, why spend $900 or whatever they're going for if you can get one for $100 or $150?"

Scafidi also said some body shops have been known to buy stolen tailgates and use them in what he called a "two-way scam."

In that scenario, a customer goes to the body shop for truck repairs that include a replacement tailgate. The shop goes to a local pickup truck dealership and buys a new tailgate to get the invoice to turn into the insurance company, but then, according to Scafidi, "finds a part from Midnight Auto Supply and paints it up and installs it." A few weeks later, after the shop has been reimbursed by the insurance company, the new tailgate is returned to the dealership for a refund or credit.

Scafidi added that the NICB is looking into what it sees as another growing trend in automotive thefts: the third-row seats from sport utility vehicles.



Lock the tailgate. Check.
Friend of mine had his catalytic converter stolen on his Tacoma. The truck was parked on the street, right in front of the house. He sat on the couch on the living room with windows facing the street :)
Can you imagine the look on his face when he started the truck? :)

Note to manufactures. Need auto lock on key fob for tailgate

Tha that happened here when a Toyota dealer got all the trucks stripped of the CC's one Sumday. It cost him 30K to replace them. Why are the Toyota's singled out for this theft?

I bought a strap clamp with a special key to put on the tailgate henge at Auto Zone. About $4.

The reason Toyota's may have higher theft numbers is their retention on value...

After I installed my rear swing door bumper with tire carrier, I took my factory chrome rear bumper to the local scrap yard and got nearly $250!

I was rather impressed to get that much from such a lightweight bumper... then again I replaced it with my 150 lbs. rear swing door bumper not including weight of full-size spare...

My pickup's tailgate does not have a lock. I tightened a radiator clamp around the end where the tailgate lifts out. It won't stop someone who has the time to loosen the clamp but those wanting a quick steal will give up on this one. Also, those not having a screwdriver handy are out of luck.

"Why are the Toyota's singled out for this theft?"

Thieves are opportunistic. I know two people that had the cat stolen off Toyota's. Apparently the trucks and SUV's are targeted because they are easy to get under, and the cat's are easily removed.

As for tailgates. Most of them require no tools to remove, and can be taken off in seconds. Sad to hear repair shops are also getting in on this.

LOL They would poop their pants and run if they try to steal mine and I saw it, fire off a few round at em with my 44.

This is why you should lock your tailgate.

Poor GM trucks, not all of them have locking tailgates. I know our 07 2500hd doesn't.

Shame GM over looked this feature.

Not an issue for me. Nobody in their right mind would want my smashed up tailgate anyway.
I have a tundra, they're made from real soft melted down paper clips and have a coat of Krylon spray paint on them so naturally it's full of chips and dents and looks like isht.

Yea, nobody would want the tailgate on my F-150, its all smashed up, my friend sat on one side and warped the whole thing plus it has rust from one winter in New England

2008-2010 Tacoma Chrome Rear Bumper TSB
dealers were notified that the rear chromed bumper could rust on the surface of Toyota Tacoma trucks...

No way is a rusty chromed steel Tacoma bumper worth $250 in scrap.

If you sell it to an end buyer, you may get that much, but not in scrap. The most they go for on eBay is $275. with FREE SHIPPING.

Judging by the southern states involved, I wonder if they are being used by drug smugglers?

Don't have a lock? Google: Pop and lock.

I never lock my tailgate, but I bolted the cable's eyelet 'under' the striker then torqued the heck out of it.


This is a Unique US problem. Never heard anyone stealing part of the body from a Pickup. Usually they take the whole vehicle.

Thieve sees tailgates as free money for the taking. They make an easy $100 in a few second's time and it doesn't qualify as 'grand theft'. When selling a stolen vehicle, thieves usually only make $200 and it IS grand theft.

Global pickups don't have clip-on tailgates so it would be a unique crime for the US.

Toyota cats are commonly stolen because they go bad often and they are very easy to remove. Toyota cats usually have bolted flanges on either end. GM cats, for comparison, are usually part of an exhaust pipe assembly and are welded in.

This isn't as much of a problem in California anymore because the state made the use of used cats illegal. If you cat goes bad, it has to be replaced by a new one.

Bought my F-150 brand new in 1997. It came with a lock on the tailgate and wondered why nobody else did that. I keep mine locked. Thanks Ford for putting these on yrs ago.

I don't know about the global pickups not having "clip on " tailgates.

My 86 and 97 Navara's used to be able to open about half way then pull the tailgate off. It wasn't clip on though.

The tailgate hinge point had an openning for the hinge pin to slide straight in. The stays had a key hole slot also to disconnect them.

To remove them took only 30 seconds.

It was simple, open partially disconnect the 2 stays, open to half, then pull it off.

I would think it would be similar to what you guys have.

This has been happening since the 1970's. But it's happening more now because of 1) the price of full-size tailgates with tailgate steps and cameras and 2) Craigslist. The internet makes for an easy sale for thieves.

Cost of a tailgate with tailgate step after delivery is $2000 and that doesn't include paint and a camera. So you can see why this is happening. It's happening up in Canada, too.

Oxi: a real toyota bumper without rust? I would say it is worth at least $250! because that is the most rare rear bumper on the planet, they rust so easly and bend so easly, I haven't seen one on a tacoma over 4-5yrs old! or Fourunner for that matter either!

How much does your Taco weigh?

Can it carry a load?

This has been an ongoing problem for as long as I can remember. The local Ford dealer had 20 odd tailgates stolen in one night.
Recently the Dodge dealer has cats stolen from a row of HD's with Cummins.
Tailgates don't have serial numbers, they are easy to steal, and on a pickup, are one of the most commonly damaged parts.
Cats are expensive to buy and even for salvage, the rare metals fetch a decent price.

@Oxi - why would you sell your stock bumpers? Your truck would be an incredibly hard sell with all of that armour on it. Modified trucks usually have a piss poor resale value. They usually sell better if one removes all of that stuff and puts the pristine stock stuff back on.

Is this oxi's rear bumper?


In South Texas, thieves are stealing the mirrors with built-in blinker arrows in them (mostly GM's). They pop them off in seconds and are about $850 to replace at the dealer because the mirror motor pops off with the glass. Some people are just scum.

Good thing the 2013 Rams have tailgates and RamBoxes that lock with the key fob.

When my Ridgeline is locked my tail gate is locked.

change subject wy they dont show fuel consumption whit a trailer gcwr....for pickup....whit max payload..

What happened to oxi's front bumper? Was it stolen?



ok lets clear up the catalytic converter myth right NOW.
The reason that Toyota's are singled out for this is because the catalytic converters have more platinum in them. just like all parts typically found on toyotas, they are better made.

YES, i said there is platinum in them and the toyota's have more of the precious metal in them.

^ That's why it costs a lot of replace those suckers, and we have 2 big ones and 2 smaller ones.

Ill never forget the day a couple of years ago when I shopping for my last truck I was looking at a tan Ram 2500 used good conditon etc. etc. and the sales man said the tailgate was stolen last night and that if I bought it they would buy me a matching tailgate then on my way out of the dealer I saw a blue beat to heck Ram 2500 w/ a tan tailgate w/ out of state plates and shady character lol. Long story short I always lock my tailgate.


Do you own a late model Tacoma?

If not, please shut up!


Please refrain from posting pics regardless if they are on the web of personal vehicles. This shows you are a stalker and creepy!

I am sending an email to the site admin to have you banned or removed. Post pics of Tacoma's from news sights or something, leave personal ones out of it CREEP!

@Mike: please take care of this within your rules, personal safety becomes a safety concern and if you fail to act and this creepy individual attacks my property or family, your site could be held liable for in action!


Are you lying about the value of chromed steel at a scrap yard? The rust TSB is straight from Toyota.

And oh yeah, please shut up about all of the trucks you don't own or drive, too.


My original stock bumper was in mint condition and collecting dust and got nearly $250 for it to fund other projects with...

Altogether I got over $400 with rear bumper with factory leaf springs, spring seats, front plastic and aluminum bumpers, upper control arms that I sold for scrap but were all in mint condition...

I sold them because I have no use for them. I am not planning to sell this Tacoma back, it will be with me until end times. In a few years when Toyota introduces a new Tacoma, I will see what they offer, sorry I refuse to buy a bailed-out GM product with the new Colorado and Nissan sits too low to the ground for me...

The reason I removed the flimsy chrome bumper is obvious. Rear departure angle is low on pickups due to bed extension beyond rear tires. With that said during many off-road situations one gets the rear THUMP when climbing hills or obstacles and chrome bumpers will not take the hits very well...

Also backing out and striking rocks or trees off-road is another reason. I opted for this massive rear swing door not only for the shear mass of the bumper (note factory bumper mounted to 6 points, this one 10 bolts mount it in the rear with factory points, Toyota must be saving those 4 bolts per Tacoma in costs) but making the bumper useful like holding my full-size spare tire and my Hi-Lift jack and ax, etc...

Removing the spare from underneath increases ground clearance and prevents damage from riding so low and good luck trying to drop that down off-road if you lose a tire off its bead in water, on rocks or buried in mud, etc... let alone on the side of the highway wearing your Sunday's best in rain or snow...

Tire up high is easier to handle!

@hemi lol

You know I didn't realize how much of a fan boy you were with the Tundra until I came across thread about the tundra frame on a forum and you were trying to explain how good the tundra frame was in defense of the bed bounce, c-channel, rivited cross members and boasting about "HD" parts.

"now stop watching what FORD told you to watch. you NEED to watch what is important here. watch the TIRES, the tires in contact with the ground is whats important NOT what the bed is doing. watch when they show the two drivers in the in cab portion and watch ole boy in the ford sawin at the steering wheel to keep the thing even remotely on that strip. that dumbass video cracks me up, they want you to focus on what they want. tell me which is better?? the fords tires are OFF the ground more than they're on it."
Both trucks rear tires spent the same amount of time off the ground, and I promise Toyota didn't design that bed bounce into the truck... Anything you say going forward is null and void after reading that on how blinded you are by the Tundra. Toyota was proactive on trailer sway while ford was retro for coming out with an anti sway program, lol, what does toyota have on their trucks now? Anti sway...

Yup, they have a real strong frame "for 1972"


This part is the best, your going to get a kick out of this, his response when asked if the Tundra did better than the f150 on the rough road video, here was his response "IMO its MUCH better than the Ford. WHY would you want all of those bumps beating at your back? its being absorbed and if you had a load it would fair lots better. if the ford had a load it would LEAVE the road no matter how hard the driver tried to keep it there at those speeds"

For the record, most catalytic converters use platinum, not just toyota, they just use a little higher content of it. Nice how to try to spin it as Toyota only uses Platinum. Take off your glasses man, I swear Tundra owners are just as bad as Dodge owners in terms of being narrow minded about their trucks. Instead of appreciating other brands for what they are you guys just turn it into a boasting about your brand and bash the others...

I know Ford has the bed bounce videos showing their truck is superior in this area, but every time I'm behind an F-150 on the highway, I see more bed bounce then any other truck, its like Ford is trying to take the focus off its own problem and push it onto other trucks.

The people stealing these tailgates may be Ford super duty owners who put 3000 pounds in their beds and drove over rough terrain causing their tailgates to buckle.

In Canada, reports indicate tailgate theft is a problem, especially in Alberta. Last May, the Edmonton Sun newspaper reported that 30 such thefts were reported for the first five months of the year.

That report suggested that replacement costs could be as high as $4,500, while a 2011 CBC News report about tailgate theft in Calgary suggested replacement costs could be around $2,500, including paint and labour costs.

@Lou, Who is oxi? I have never heard of this guy. I just searched for Tacoma bumpers to confirm the values and his pics are all over.

He must be in the used parts business because scrap yards aren't paying anything for light steel.


Why do you refuse to follow the rules and stay on topic of the blog post? This isn't a topic on bumpers or the flimsy Tacoma. I am going to report you to the admins to be banned for spamming.

Who is oxi?

Great. Now I'll have to train my dog to sleep in the truck bed from now on.

"Post pics of Tacoma's from news sights or something, leave personal ones out of it CREEP!"


I don't know why you are so mad at me. That's where I found them. It's not personal pics because they were posted on public news sites. A very good study on this issue is a book called "I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy." You should read about it before you post more pics.

oxi, You brought your PERSONAL Tacoma into this topic that had nothing to with bumpers. Leave your personal Tacoma out of these topcis, PLEASE!

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