Police in Springfield are looking for thieves who have been stealing spare tires from the back of SUVs parked in lots and on streets near the city’s two major universities. Police Lieutenant David Milsap says nearly two dozen spares have been removed from sport utility vehicles at Missouri State and at Drury.

Milsap says the rash of stolen tires began just as school started up again two weeks ago. He says the best way to avoid becoming a victim is to keep the spare inside your SUV.

The thieves reportedly are likely trying to sell them off to get cash for the metal rims.

–KTTS contributed to this report.