Ottawa drivers are being warned about tailgate theft, a surprising and costly new crime trend.

Some thieves are targeting tailgates on trucks, particularly vehicles equipped with extra features like back-up cameras.

"There's a big hole in my truck, the tailgate is gone and the tools are left in there," said Everton Wilson, a driver forced to buy a new tailgate after his was stolen from his 2004 Ford F150. 

"I felt violated," he said. "You know I work hard, you come in my laneway and you stole my possession."

Tailgate theft is a growing trend in the U.S. with more than 500 cases reported last year. In Ottawa, there have been dozens of similar incidents.

'There's definitely money to be had there,' says car expert

"You just remove the hinge and you're off in like 15 seconds," said Dave Proulx, a local mechanic demonstrating how easy it is to steal a tail gate.

"One big guy can carry it away. Like three steps and it's done."

The average tailgate costs about $2,000 and car experts believe thieves are selling them for quick cash.

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Tailgate locks, like the one pictured here, are a cheap but effective way to protect your vehicle from tailgate theft.

"You could probably strip it down, sell the camera off, sell the step off, sell the tailgate off itself," said Grant Schubert, a car sales consultant.

"There's definitely a lot of money to be had there. Especially with a higher end truck, a higher end tail gate."

Tailgate locks are available and offer cheap, but effective protection against theft. Robbery victim, Wilson, has developed his own method of protection. 

"When I back up my truck I back it up tight to a wall," he said. "I don't give people a chance to steal it because I know it's frustrating."