Hot rubber: Tires being sold illegally in Demopolis area

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 4, 2004

They were too cheap to be true, weren’t they?

Demopolis Police have discovered a back-street tire bargain that has already resulted in the confiscation of nearly 400 Goodyear tires, according to Det. Sgt. Tim Soronen. And apparently, plenty of unsuspecting people in both Demopolis and Greene County have taken the illegal vendors up on the offer.

“Somebody is selling high-dollar tires for about $25 a tire,” Soronen said Tuesday.

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An investigation resulted in one of the most interesting cases Demopolis has seen in the past two years.

According to Soronen, it appears a group of suspects either stole an entire trailer full of brand new Goodyear tires, or they actually stole them from a factory.

“All we know is that they came from somewhere between here and Gadsden,” Soronen said.

And these weren’t a bunch of ragged used tires, either.

“These tires were made during the third week of January,” he said. “You can’t find dirt on any of them.”

Well, that’s not exactly the case anymore. So far, Soronen said he has found a number of people in Demopolis and surrounding areas who have purchased the tires from illegal vendors. At the same time, he said those who have bought the tires were “unsuspecting.”

“If they recently bought new Goodyear tires, they need to contact me at the police department,” Soronen said.

Those who purchased the tires are not considered to have broken the law, but Soronen said he needs the help of everyone who has bought the hot rubber.

“They need to contact me first,” he said. “We’re not going after them if they give us truthful information.”

Tuesday, Soronen got enough tips to find the trailer that contained nearly 400 tires.

“It was in the woods out by Highway 80 West,” he said.

When Soronen found the trailer, he discovered it had been delivered by a stolen tractor.

“Both the tractor and the trailer were stolen from Green County,” Soronen said.

Late Tuesday, Soronen said police do have suspects in the case. Because of the investigation, he could not release any details on those suspects.

However, Soronen encourages anyone in the area to contact him at (334) 289-3073 if they have purchased or been offered new Goodyear tires.

After that, police are not quite sure what will happen to people who paid for the tires.

“First, we have to determine who actually owned the tires,” he said. “They may have belonged to a tire store, or they may have still been owned by Goodyear. After we determine that, then we’ll figure out what people can do with those tires.”