AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Austin is tracking the theft of heavy-duty Ford pickups in what police believe are links to illegal immigrant smuggling.
Investigators say increased use of Ford F-250 and F-350 trucks for such crimes emerged several years ago in Houston and San Antonio, but began reaching Austin this spring.
Austin police on April 1 began tracking the number of stolen Ford trucks recovered in south Texas and along the Mexican border. Police documented 94 thefts believed linked to human smuggling.
Cmdr. Michael Nyert says 78 of the vehicles were recovered in south Texas or with evidence of smuggling, such as no back seat.
Department of Public Safety Maj. Jesse Flores says the trucks may seem like they aren't carrying much, but "there are people stacked up in the bed of the pickups or in the cabs."