Anyone who works for a living to support themselves and their family, pays their taxes and abides by the law hates a thief. Low-life criminals who take advantage of honest folks are the scum of the earth.
My shop recently experienced three separate instances of theft.
First, we had just started a restoration for a customer. During the tear-down, we moved the body outside to power wash the tub.
We inadvertently left my prized aluminum race jack outside a bay door — a stupid blunder on our part.
You guessed it... the next morning it was gone.
About six months later, one of our shop’s spare “run-around” cars, a sweet-running 1981 Pontiac Bonneville, was heisted by a crook driving a tow truck with a “Police Towing” sign emblazoned on the rear window.
I had left the shop a mere 15 minutes prior. We had witnesses to the theft, but since the tow truck looked legit, they didn’t call the cops. The crook simply hooked it and drove off.
The Medina, Ohio, sheriff’s deputies eventually caught the crook, thanks to the eye witnesses’ accounts. He was cited for about 30 vehicle thefts in the area.
Unfortunately, the good old Bonneville had been sold for scrap and crushed before he was nailed. My only consolation is thinking about the jerk “enjoying” his stay in prison.
About a year later, a thief broke into a friend’s car parked in our lot and stole the factory radio. A week later, my buddy sold the car.
When the buyer arrived with a flatbed to load the car, the thief actually showed up and told the car buyer that his “friend” had given him the radio and he was missing the faceplate. The buyer of the car, unaware of who this clown was, looked in the car and said that he didn’t see it.
The thief then walked over to one of our bay doors and peered inside the window to where we were working. The brazen thief told the car buyer that nobody was in the shop. He then eyed a set of roll-around car dollies (owned by my friend) and tried to pick them up. Discovering they were frozen to the ground, he told the car buyer that he’d return “later.”
That evening, the car buyer called my friend and told him about what had happened. My buddy drove to the shop and — lo and behold — the dollies were gone. Had I looked outside while the car buyer was talking to this clown, I would have assumed that he was with him to help load the car. Of course, had I seen him try to grab the dollies, I would have known something was rotten and would have approached him. Had I known this moron was a thief, I would have called 911.
Keep in mind that my shop is not in a metropolitan area. We’re located in a quiet rural area, two miles from the closest small town. It just goes to show that thievery can take place anywhere.
In the aftermath of my experiences, I found that a local engine machine shop had two scrap engine blocks and a 200-pound anvil stolen from behind the business, and a nearby automotive service shop had about 15 engine cores and a host of core starters and alternators swiped from their storage building as well.
Like most business locations, my shop has always been equipped with an alarm system to protect against break-ins, but as a result of this unusual rash of crimes, I’ve now installed a video surveillance camera system to capture and record any activity in and around our parking lot.
It’s a shame to find yourself in a position where you need to spend time and money to protect what’s yours, in addition to running a busy shop, all due to a few scumbags who would rather steal than work for a living.
I know my experiences can’t be isolated cases. If you’ve experienced similar scenarios, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hate thieves. ●
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