By Judy Sheridan
Burglars who hit Bearcat Autowash in downtown Aledo June 28 racked up thousands of dollars worth of property damage, but left the scene with little cash, according to business owner Vincent Shilling.
“I had taken $120 out the night before,” Shilling said. “That’s the irony of it. They didn’t get much money.”
The burglary took place in the morning, he said. His wife called to alert him that someone had broken into the system around 10:45 a.m.
“They hooked onto the entry system for the automatic with a tow chain,” he said. “It only takes two minutes.
“It pulled out two bolts and bent it at a 15-degree angle. They left $12 in coins on the ground.”
Damages to the entry system have been estimated at $9,000, Shilling said. Some two weeks of down time could result, depending on the availability of parts.
The suspects refocused a surveillance camera, so it wouldn’t show them in the act, according to Shilling, but a power outage that extended as far as his home, two miles west, did an even better job of shielding the suspects’ identities.
“There were no pictures,” he said.
Shilling said the Autowash has been the target of three serious criminal incidents in the last 11 years. In the most recent, some five or six years ago, two men were caught breaking into the vacuum cleaners.
Torches have been used to force entry, he said, and one person drilled a hole through a stainless steel lock.
“Our location is not a very high volume location; we don’t have the population,” he said. “Half the people use credit cards. These guys are wasting their time.”