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Thieves vandalize Weld County auto dealer, attempt to steal luxury cars from showroom

Thieves smashing the garage at Red's Truck and Auto in Weld County
Posted at 6:55 AM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-28 08:55:36-05

WELD COUNTY, Colo. — It's all on camera.

Thieves used a Ford F-250 truck to back into the garage door at Red's Truck and Auto dealership in Weld County.

For 17 minutes, one of the thieves attempts, unsuccessfully, to steal his objective: a 2021 Dodge Hellcat.

After ditching a Lexus that was scraped exiting the garage, the thief spends several more minutes in the store before dashing out just before a Weld County Sheriff's vehicle arrives.

After that, they were gone.

Though none of the cars were stolen, the owner, Mike Widhalm, estimates there could be nearly $20,000 of damage to his buildings and inventory.

"This is not only my livelihood, but my employees and my salesmen sell these. Now they can't sell this car," Widhalm said of the Lexus, which is now parked outside. "We may not be able to access our showroom floor. So, all the cars that are in there may not be able to come off."

Widhalm is on the board of the Colorado Independent Automobile Dealers Association, which has tracked the increase of thefts from its members over the past several years. Colorado is now in the top five hottest states for car thefts in the country.

"Just in the last couple of weeks, I've had three members lose close to a million dollars worth of damages," said David Cardella, the CEO of the Colorado Independent Automobile Dealers Association. "This is a this is a major problem that has come to the state of Colorado."

Cardella says he is trying to convince the state of Colorado to step up its pursuit of car thieves as the supply chain and regulatory framework in the state make stealing cars in the state more appealing.

"People come in, they steal these vehicles. Law enforcement is not allowed to pursue them," Cardella said. "We've had members go out of business and close their doors because their insurance costs have risen greatly, and they just can't afford to stay in business any longer."