A wave of truck thefts in Contra Costa County had police issuing a warning Wednesday night: Car thieves are targeting pickup trucks.
The thieves also are particular about the make and model, police said, stealing Ford F-250s and 350s in alarming numbers.
Bill Jones, 68, said he woke up Monday morning to find his Ford pickup truck stolen from right in front of his Martinez home.
"I said, 'What happened? Where’s my truck?!'" Jones said, describing his reaction.
Jones's wife and neighbor both saw two men pull up in a black Toyota truck at about 7:30 a.m.
"The passenger jumped out and got into my truck, and he was gone in minutes probably even seconds," Jones said.
Jones is not alone. The California Highway Patrol says thieves seem to be targeting the Ford pickups in Contra Costa County. Concord and Antioch each had eight stolen in January, and Pittsburg saw 11 of the trucks taken in just two weeks.
"Eleven stolen vehicles of the one make or model is an alarming rate," said Steve Albanese of the Pittsburg Police Department. "We don’t normally see that in our community."
Pittsburg crime analysts noticed the trend and sent an alert out to patrol officers Tuesday. Officers then spotted one of the stolen trucks near a park Tuesday night and arrested 39-year-old Michael Patton of Pittsburg, police said.
Police believe there are more suspects out there. The CHP now has a task force on the case and is urging Ford truck owners to take precautions.
"Have a vehicle with more security, possibly an alarm," CHP Officer Brandon Correia said. "Sounds obvious, but make sure your doors are locked, or go old school, with a Club."
Jones hopes police find his truck because he needs it and the tools he kept in it for work.
"I don’t need a new truck," he said. "That one worked fine for 15 years."