Local law enforcement nails tire thieves
Brotherly love went out the window when a Shreveport man gave up his siblings, and Minden Police removed a cog in the wheel of tire and rim thefts that have spanned the Gulf South.
Broderick Summage, 30, of Shreveport, was arrested on local warrants by Phillip Krouse with the U.S. Marshall's Service in Shreveport on June 20 and charged with felony theft.
About a week later, Eric D. Summage, 32, and Trandic T. Summage, 22, both formerly of Haughton, were arrested on Minden Police warrants for felony theft by the U.S. Marshall's Office in Houston.
Minden Police became involved when, after dark on April 29, the Summage brothers and Reagan Beaudreaux of Houston, Texas allegedly made their way onto the lot of a new car dealership on Hwy. 531, jacked up 19 vehicles and stole the tires and rims, leaving the vehicles on blocks.
Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper said more than $50,000 worth of tires and wheels were taken and damage to the vehicles made the total closer to $60,000.
"We got a call on a rental truck that had been parked in an unusual place," Cropper said. "We sent an officer out and got a license plate off of it."
Det. Heath Balkom said tracing the plate and coming up with the suspects was time-consuming but not difficult.
"They (thieves) used their own telephone number to rent the trailer," Balkom said.
A subpoena for Broderick Summage's phone records yielded a great deal of information needed by police to catch the men.
"We then had to go through phone records and video from when they rented the truck," Balkom said. "When we subpoenaed the phone number, we got a record of which towers it was hitting at which times."
Balkom said it was hitting towers in Shreveport prior to the theft.
"Then, at the time of the theft, it was hitting in Minden and then back in Shreveport shortly after," he said.
In the meantime, Broderick Summage was arrested at his residence in Shreveport, questioned by Minden Police detectives, and "rolled" on his brothers and Beaudreaux.
"From information at the rental company, we learned the truck was supposed to be dropped off in Houston," he said. "So, we had the U.S. Marshalls sitting up on where it was supposed to be dropped off. It was dropped off a day early, but the guy who exited the vehicle wasn't one of our suspects."
The marshalls followed the man to see where he would lead them, which was only a block away.
They also checked out the rental truck.
"When they popped the latch, it had the tire impressions inside," Balkom said. "It was almost like somebody had rolled the sides of the tires in ink ... like a fingerprint. It left the name brand of the tires, the spec number ... you could see where all the tires were stacked all the way back to the cab."
Although tires do not carry serial numbers, the imprints reportedly matched the brand and numbers of the tires stolen.
"We know that truck was rented in Shreveport, we know that truck was in Minden, we know that truck was turned in in Houston and we know that truck had tires in it," Balkom said.
Cropper said when the two Summage brothers and Beaudreaux were arrested by the Marshall's Service in Houston, a $75,000 bond was placed on each one.
"At first, they denied extradition, and we were contacted by Harris County officials and told they didn't have room to hold them," Cropper said. "They were going to let them bond out on our warrants down there with the promise they would come to Louisiana and get their business straight."
The chief went on to say that a judge in Harris County wanted a copy of all reports and fingerprint cards, proving the men they were holding in Houston were the same as the ones wanted on warrants in Minden.
Beaudreaux, who is originally from Houston, posted bond and is still missing, Balkom said.
"We are in the process of getting a governor's warrant for him," Balkom said. "We will get him."
With records in hand, the judge revoked the Summage brothers' bond and they waived extradition. Balkom and Off. Clint Smith made the trip to Houston Friday and brought them back to Minden.
Beaudreaux and the Summage brothers are only a small part of the overall picture, according to Balkom, and Houston appears to be the port for thefts that are taking place in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana.
"I believe these guys are definitely a part of the bigger picture," he said. "After they hit, they always go back to Houston, and they all live within a couple of blocks of the rental business."
Cropper said the group has been known to hit two dealerships within a 50-mile radius in a short period of time.
"Then they go silent for a couple of months, and then they'll start again," he said.
Cropper said when the group hit a dealership in Stonewall, they stole the tires and wheels off more than 70 new Ford pick-up trucks.
Louisiana State Analytical & Fusion Exchange (LA-SAFE) officials said the theft of tires and rims is at an almost epidemic proportion. Recently, three incidents have caught the attention of law enforcement.
On March 25, a Gonzales, dealership was the target of tire and rim theft. The incident occurred late at night or in the early morning and resulted in the theft of almost $30,000 worth of merchandise.
In Natchitoches on the same night another dealership lost approximately $100,000 worth of wheels.
A Kenner retail and service business reportedly had nearly $90,000 worth of tires and rims stolen.
Balkom said there is little chance of recovering any of the stolen items – at least not those taken locally.