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Vacuum dirt robbed last night

Snowman

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Last night around 9:30pm we had someone break into the clean-out bins of our vacuum canisters and steal the dirt! I'm assuming they were looking for the loose change and jewelry that gets sucked into the bin. The suspect drove up, cut the zip ties holding the doors shut and dumped the contents into a trash bag. Did this to 3 of our 4 vacuums.

Our cameras are low res so I wasn't able to get a license plate or good face shot but the truck did have some identifying features. It had an extension that goes into the trailer hitch, a cab protector and truck bed tool box. The truck also has possibly after market lights on the roof. 4 big yellow lights on the front of the cab roof and yellow lights in the rear of the roof. The light on the rear of the roof turns on when the door opens and off when it closes. Not sure if this is a feature on this model truck or not but another clue.

The wash is 24/7 and sometimes not attended during the day. We keep the canister doors clasped shut and secured with zip ties. The clasps that hold the door closed can take a pad lock but they are very flimsy metal and someone with a screw driver can twist the clasp and break it very easily. I think this has happened before but not to all three at the same time. In the past I assumed someone vacuumed up something by accident and opened the service door to retrieve, which is fine with me and why I liked the zip tie solution. That said, now that this guy knows how easy it is I'm sure he's going to be back.

JE Adams makes a service door security cover (part 9427K-RETRO) that can be installed retroactively at $150 a pop, so I'm going to order those. I'm also going to get one or two cameras that can get license plates.

This was in northeast MA. I'm attaching a picture of the truck.

Question for the forum: would you bother reporting this to the police? I was thinking bringing some screen shots and just letting them know what happened in case they know the vehicle.
In Texas that is considered theft of a coin operated machine
 

MEP001

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In Texas that is considered theft of a coin operated machine
Burglary, not theft, but good luck getting any cops to arrest someone for stealing dirt. Better to go after criminal mischief or just vandalism.
 

CheetahExpress

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We had the exact same thing happen here (on 2 vacs). Made a mess, and also stole the rubber debris catchers (baskets) that are inside the vacs. Did not report it. Ours were padlocked, but they cut around the latch and opened the door. GinSan has a security addition like a long thin box that fits over both top and bottom doors and can only be opened by a key. We had those installed for a little more than what you quoted. No problems since. I guess just the cost of doing business in the crazy business of car washes. You definitely see the worst of humanity.
 

AZcarwashman

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This may seem like overkill, but got so tired of showing up to sites with cut locks and open doors, that I had the clean outs alarmed. Once the alarm goes off on one, they don’t mess with the others and leave never to return. Also, since there’s an actual padlock that’s cut, it’s considered commercial burglary. Vacs are Fragramatic which have a great door lock mechanism and pretty hefty stainless padlock latch. My alarm system is through local company linked to Alarm.com so I always know if a door has been left open since I get an open circuit notification. Also to the original poster, upgrade your security cameras. 1080p - 4k systems have really come down in price and it’s so much better for you and the police to have quality video. If your cameras can’t pick up license plates, clear pictures of the perp or other important info, all you’ll do is get frustrated looking at bad video when things happen.
 

MEP001

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Vacs are Fragramatic which have a great door lock mechanism
Mine have been pried open so many times that I ended up wrapping a cable around the vacuum and looped through the padlock. They sometimes still try to get the door out from under the big catch even though there's no way to open the door once they do.

1080p - 4k systems have really come down in price and it’s so much better for you and the police to have quality video.
I just got a 16-camera 4K system with 16 cameras for $700.
 

topherbyb

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Same here, I had them open for year until someone started leaving them open every night after going through them. They didn't leave a mess, but multiple vacs with no suction was a problem. I even took a screen shot of one of them and posted his picture on all of the vacs hoping it would scare him, but he still came back. Guess when your a crack head nothing matters.
 

topherbyb

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Hey Slash, I'm new to CWF and saw where you have WW Razor. We're looking at Razor to replace old PDQ M5. Are you happy with yours? We were heading toward getting another PDQ and brother told me he had heard Razors were good, so I got quote and hoping to pay distributor a visit soon to get a better feel. Any input you could give would be much appreciated. I'm new to forum so I don't know if I'm out of protocol to just ask from here...
 

I.B. Washincars

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I'm new to forum so I don't know if I'm out of protocol to just ask from here...
Nothing at all wrong with asking here, but you would get better response if you started your own thread about WW or jumped into an existing WW thread. Welcome to the forum. There are a lot of smart people here, and Randy and me too.
 

OurTown

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I think that at least in our area if there are no locks on something then it may not be considered "breaking in". We bought a ton of those small brass bodied Master locks that are all keyed the same for all the vac doors. About a year and a half ago early on a Saturday morning I saw a guy on our cameras (this was live) dressed in all black goin through vac dirt in the lot. I immediately called the police and they were there in less than a minute and after talking to him for 30 seconds was in hand cuffs. They took photos of the 12 pennies he had laid out and then they took them for evidence. He had just got out of jail the night before in the next county over. No damage done because he just popped the wire bail off easily with his pocket knife. We are very fortunate to have such a great police dept.
 

kg00273

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I know this is an older thread but we have just started having a MAJOR issue with this over the last month.

Every morning I would find all seven of our vacs wide open and a ton of trash spread across the facility. We used to keep padlocks on the doors until the "dirt bandits" would just pry them off with tools.

Over the last year we started using bailing wire to keep the the doors shut. Even after twisting the wires as tight as they would go, the dirt bandits started bringing wire snips to the facility.

Last night was my breaking point. (quick note: I live less than a mile from the wash and have a live stream of the cameras running off an old laptop)

Yesterday alone, I had to run off three separate dirt bandits.
-The first one was in the middle of the day while I was on site and he high tailed it as soon as I called out to him (I've kicked him out of the property before).
-The other two were less than an hour apart (945 and 1020pm). They both tried to sale the same BS story on how someone they knew (wife/brother) had sucked up some jewelry and was looking to get it back. they kept on with that story until I asked why they didn't call or come to the office during the day. of course they started to struggle with finding an answer.

after the last one, I called the local police department and requested an officer to see what we can do in the legal sense:
Even though the officer was very professional, he explained that it would be hard to prosecute without the personal info of the suspects (name and/or address).

It wouldn't be an issue if they cleaned up behind themselves and re-secured the doors, heck, I would give them a broom, dustpan and sifter to do it, but they just don't care. Carwash_Front-Fence side_main_20220919213452_@10.jpg
 

AZcarwashman

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I know this is an older thread but we have just started having a MAJOR issue with this over the last month.

Every morning I would find all seven of our vacs wide open and a ton of trash spread across the facility. We used to keep padlocks on the doors until the "dirt bandits" would just pry them off with tools.

Over the last year we started using bailing wire to keep the the doors shut. Even after twisting the wires as tight as they would go, the dirt bandits started bringing wire snips to the facility.

Last night was my breaking point. (quick note: I live less than a mile from the wash and have a live stream of the cameras running off an old laptop)

Yesterday alone, I had to run off three separate dirt bandits.
-The first one was in the middle of the day while I was on site and he high tailed it as soon as I called out to him (I've kicked him out of the property before).
-The other two were less than an hour apart (945 and 1020pm). They both tried to sale the same BS story on how someone they knew (wife/brother) had sucked up some jewelry and was looking to get it back. they kept on with that story until I asked why they didn't call or come to the office during the day. of course they started to struggle with finding an answer.

after the last one, I called the local police department and requested an officer to see what we can do in the legal sense:
Even though the officer was very professional, he explained that it would be hard to prosecute without the personal info of the suspects (name and/or address).

It wouldn't be an issue if they cleaned up behind themselves and re-secured the doors, heck, I would give them a broom, dustpan and sifter to do it, but they just don't care. View attachment 6978
Those look like Ginsan vacs from Industrial Vac Systems. Order the security dirt clean out stainless cover kit and then alarm each cover with your alarm company. All my power vacs are done this way. Have has to deal with one attempt over the last couple years. Once alarm goes off on one, they don’t return. Plus to drill the lock and remove the cover, it becomes commercial burglary.
 

chaz

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Keep the vacs empty. Daily!!! Use locks then it’s breaking in (I believe). Cameras. May take a bit of time but word will get out…stay away fro your vacs
 

washnshine

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Last night around 9:30pm we had someone break into the clean-out bins of our vacuum canisters and steal the dirt! I'm assuming they were looking for the loose change and jewelry that gets sucked into the bin. The suspect drove up, cut the zip ties holding the doors shut and dumped the contents into a trash bag. Did this to 3 of our 4 vacuums.

Our cameras are low res so I wasn't able to get a license plate or good face shot but the truck did have some identifying features. It had an extension that goes into the trailer hitch, a cab protector and truck bed tool box. The truck also has possibly after market lights on the roof. 4 big yellow lights on the front of the cab roof and yellow lights in the rear of the roof. The light on the rear of the roof turns on when the door opens and off when it closes. Not sure if this is a feature on this model truck or not but another clue.

The wash is 24/7 and sometimes not attended during the day. We keep the canister doors clasped shut and secured with zip ties. The clasps that hold the door closed can take a pad lock but they are very flimsy metal and someone with a screw driver can twist the clasp and break it very easily. I think this has happened before but not to all three at the same time. In the past I assumed someone vacuumed up something by accident and opened the service door to retrieve, which is fine with me and why I liked the zip tie solution. That said, now that this guy knows how easy it is I'm sure he's going to be back.

JE Adams makes a service door security cover (part 9427K-RETRO) that can be installed retroactively at $150 a pop, so I'm going to order those. I'm also going to get one or two cameras that can get license plates.

This was in northeast MA. I'm attaching a picture of the truck.

Question for the forum: would you bother reporting this to the police? I was thinking bringing some screen shots and just letting them know what happened in case they know the vehicle.
I keep waiting for someone to steal the mud from my ss pits! 😆
 

MEP001

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I keep waiting for someone to steal the mud from my ss pits! 😆
I used to manage a chain of SS car washes, and one of the attendants was absolutely obsessed with the idea of digging it out and going through it for any quarters that got dropped and rolled into the pit. For literally a year he asked me for ideas on how to do it. I kept telling him how they'd basically dissolve in a month, and how deep the pits were, and how if he wanted that change so bad to get some hardware cloth and cover the grates, but he'd just stare at the pit like there was a chest of gold buried in it. I even offered to buy him a used lawnmower so he could make some extra money in an hour here and there, more than he'd ever find in all the pits, but the idea of "free money" was worth more to him than doing a job in less time for more money. It was crazy.
 

OurTown

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I used to manage a chain of SS car washes, and one of the attendants was absolutely obsessed with the idea of digging it out and going through it for any quarters that got dropped and rolled into the pit. For literally a year he asked me for ideas on how to do it. I kept telling him how they'd basically dissolve in a month, and how deep the pits were, and how if he wanted that change so bad to get some hardware cloth and cover the grates, but he'd just stare at the pit like there was a chest of gold buried in it. I even offered to buy him a used lawnmower so he could make some extra money in an hour here and there, more than he'd ever find in all the pits, but the idea of "free money" was worth more to him than doing a job in less time for more money. It was crazy.

I'll bet anything there was a pirate in his family tree.
 

edcrawfordlv

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Our washes are attached to c-stores. The manager put padlocks on the vacuum and one of the homeless guys came in and asked why there were now locks on the vacuums.
 
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