Spare-tire bandit targeting students in Des Moines

DES MOINES, Wash. -- Des Moines police are on the lookout for the thief or thieves who've made off with more than two dozen spare tires in the past several months, mostly at Highline Community College.

More than a dozen teachers and students have been targeted on campus, where there are a lot of potential victims to choose from.

Student Emma Labrado knows all-too-well about the the rash of thefts.

"I came out and I said, 'Gosh, something looks really different about my car.' And I was like, 'Oh my God, somebody stole my spare tire,'" she said.

That was Tuesday afternoon in the south parking lot. She immediately told a campus security guard.

"And he told me over the last couple months, over 15 spare tires had been stolen," she said.

Beginning in January, somebody's been lurking in the parking lots of Highline, searching for easy-to-steal spare tires.

Des Moines police say the same thief or thieves likely stole seven other spare tires in broad daylight in other parts of town, and they suspect they may be selling the tires for money to buy drugs.

Labrado's spare didn't have a lock on it, and neither do a lot of other SUVs parked around the college. Labrado said she's angry about the theft and a little scared now to walk to and from classes.

She hopes police are able to track down the thieves and put them behind bars, but police say they have very little surveillance video of a possible suspect.

Until the crooks are caught, they advice everyone to get a lock for their spare tire.