On February 26, there were three auto thefts that were reported within a 2 mile radius in North Park. One theft in particular, was for the truck’s sought after motor.
“The Cummins engines are valuable,” said Emily, one of the victims this night. “And I’m sure the utility boxes in the back were tempting too.”
Emily who lives by Illinois Street, came out the next morning (February 27) to move her white 2001 Dodge 2500 Truck for the street sweeping — but couldn’t find it.
“I spoke with my neighbors to see if any of them have security cameras or saw anything,” she said, “but so far nothing.”
Because parking is tough in this part of North Park, she tried the local tow yards first — with no luck either. She remembered locking her doors but said she didn’t have an alarm.
“I just heard from police that the truck was found in a residential area near the 125 and the 94,” she posted on her social media on March 8th. “They said it is in pieces.”
On her updated photo, the truck’s front end, engine and transmission were missing.
“Those trucks came out with the better turbos, had better reliability and tons of torque for that time,” said Jerry, a truck customizer from Encanto. “Pound for pound, that was the motor to have.”
Jerry’s been racing at the formerly called Qualcomm Stadium races since it started almost 20 years ago.
He remembers seeing a black Dodge Ram, like Emily’s (but older 1998) with a Cummins motor as well. The lifted truck with dual stack mufflers was “whooping” on the Porsches on the 1/8 mile drag strip.
“Those motors are getting rare now,” Jerry said. “Builders fit that motor with bigger turbos, turn up the boost …. they already have high torque and you can be pulling a house and still smoke a gas [powered] truck.”
“They’re expensive engines,” said Dan from A & B Truck Recycling, “that can go for probably [up to] $4000.”
He couldn’t comment on the numbers of Dodge Ram trucks stolen locally, but he did say that the Cummins motor in Emily’s truck was a 24 valve, and “the more desirable motor is the 12 valve,” which went in the earlier year Ram trucks.
Jerry said that another reason why the diesel motors are sought-after by customizers, is that if the motor is correctly installed (with the proper wiring and computer) in a certain vehicle, and it passes a visual and smog test — that it no longer “has to be smog tested” for the entirety of it’s life on the California roads.
These trucks are also popular for thieves because their catalytic converters sell for good money on eBay. Some converters, which are the oval looking units mounted between the engines and the mufflers, are listed as high as $12,000 new, and $1600 used.
Certain catalytic converters contain valuable metals like palladium, platinum, or rhodium— and can fetch good money at scrap metal yards.
On Crimemapping.com six other vehicles were stolen within a mile of Emily’s truck since February 26th (until March 8). She said one of them was a motorcycle stolen from a carport next to where her truck was last parked.
Another Dodge Ram truck was reported stolen in November. The women driver was said to have crashed into a police officer’s patrol car in Escondido. The police officer and herself were taken to Palomar Medical Center for treatment, and both were released with minor injuries,” according to NBC News 7 San Diego.