Odessa Police Catch Two Tire Bandits

Odessa Police Catch Two Tire Bandits

By Alexa Williams

NewsWest 9

ODESSA - For the past six months, tire and wheel thefts in Odessa have been on the rise. In fact since June, there have been at least 70 reports on the crime. But on Tuesday morning, police busted two of the tire bandits.

"As a result of a suspicious vehicle call from earlier this (Tuesday) morning, we were able to make one arrest," Steve LeSueur, Communications Officer with the Odessa Police Department, said. 

Police say Alejandro Ortiz was inside that suspicious vehicle at Quail Run Apartments. We're told Ortiz was lying horizontally across the front seat of a red Ford F-150 trying to hide. The F-150 was parked next to a 2013 GMC Sierra that was sitting on cinder blocks with three tires missing. Police found the tires nearby and Ortiz fessed up to the theft.  

"It's important for the public to be aware of their surroundings. When they're aware and they communicate with their neighbors and they report what's going on in their neighborhoods and their apartment complexes and report suspicious activity, those are the types of calls that lead to these types of arrest," LeSueur said. 

But Ortiz isn't the only tire bandit in Odessa. Dante Flores was also put in cuffs Tuesday morning. Police say back on December 29, Flores was in jail on an unrelated charge. That's when he confessed to detectives that he stole wheels and tires from a yellow Mustang in November. By the time police obtained a felony theft warrant, Flores had bonded out. But on Tuesday, they caught up with him in the 1200 block of Oak and hauled him off to jail.

"These arrest led to other possible arrested in the near future so this investigation is not over," LeSueur said. 

Police said GMC tires and wheels are the main target and they're asking for your help.

"If anybody has any tires, especially GMC vehicles, please write down the serial numbers of your tires because that will increase the chance significantly of recovering any stolen property," LeSueur said. 

Officials also said try to park in well lit areas and if possible put an alarm on your car. If you have any information about this ongoing investigation, you're asked to call Odessa Police or Crime Stoppers at 333-TIPS.