Published: Feb 21, 2013 6:15 PM EST

FORT MYERS, Fla.- It's something that takes mere seconds to steal.  According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Florida ranks fourth in the nation for tailgate thefts.

D's Auto Connection in Fort Myers has had requests recently form customers in need of replacements.

"We'd have to refinish a tailgate to match a vehicle, because there's was stolen.  They'd have to buy either a used one or an after market one," manager Mike Welsh said.

Wednesday night, an employee at U.S. Metropolitan Telecom was victimized when someone ripped the rear right of his work truck overnight.

His supervisor told WINK News there were other valuables, including copper cable inside the truck bed, but the thief only took the tailgate.

Now, the company is stuck covering a costly replacement at $2,200.00

The tailgates aren't worth much in scrap metal.

Paolo Balzano with Allied Recycling, Inc. said the type of metal used to make tailgates is only worth 10-11 cents per lb.  Balzano also noted anyone selling scrap metal is documented with the Lee County Sheriff's Office.

"Anybody that comes in with like 30 of them, if they're not an auto body shop, then there's probably going to be a problem there," he said.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau offers this advice to keep your tailgate on your truck:


-If your model has an integrated lock, use it. If a tailgate can't be opened, it can't be stolen as easily. If you don't have one, get one; they are relatively inexpensive.
-Park with the tailgate as close as you can to an object or a structure to prevent the tailgate from opening.
-Etch the truck's vehicle identification number (VIN) or your own personal identification number into the tailgate. This will aid in its recovery and may prevent its theft in the first place.