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CLEVELAND-- Cleveland police are investigating a string of thefts where the suspects managed to remove the tires off of Honda Fit vehicles in the city's Ohio City neighborhood.

The most recent incidents occured early Monday morning.

Between midnight and 5 a.m. Oct. 15, police received reports from residents on W. 45th Street, Whitman Avenue, W. 32nd Street and W. 10th Street.

Three of the vehicles were Honda Fits and one was a Honda Accord.

In each case, the cars were propped up on milk crates and the tires and rims were missing.

One of the car owners caught the suspects in the act, telling police he saw two to three men drive off in a black Toyota Corolla with a roof rack with red padding and a temporary license tag.

Piet van Lier lives a few doors down from where one of Monday's thefts happened.

A few months ago, he says, someone stole the tires off his own Honda Fit parked in front of his home.

"We've heard from friends of ours who own Fits. Since January there's been about eight or nine (tire thefts)," van Lier said.

The Fit's high-performance tires have become a target around the country.The tires are small andexpensive, and because the car is fuel-efficient, it is lightweight.

Cleveland police say it would not be difficult for a few men to lift the vehicle and slide something underneath.

In response, Cleveland's 2nd District police are now working overtime and undercover, staking out Honda Fits.

"Until this year, it didn't really occur to us that this would happen," said van Lier.

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