ATASCADERO — A storage yard at 1680 El Camino in Atascadero, shared by three local contractors, was broken into on Friday night and thieves managed to make off with more than $100,000 worth of tools.
The thieves smashed windows, pried open work truck lock boxes and broke into storage containers.
The storage yard is shared by S. Carlson’s Plumbing, Masonry by Darin and Foundation Solutions and was burglarized sometime Friday night. On Saturday morning of April 7, an employee of one of the businesses noticed the break-in and contacted, Steve Carlson, owner of S.Carlson’s Plumbing and the police. Atascadero police were dispatched just after 8 a.m. to investigate. Steve Carlson said that Saturday morning he experienced the “Sickening feeling of being robbed.”
It appears that multiple suspects were involved in the theft with one of them coming from the 101 freeway CalTrans right of way and cut a hole through CalTrans fence onto a neighbor's property and walked 25 feet and cut another section on the side of the fence on the storage yard.
From there on one or more suspects broke into containers, vehicles including three work trucks operated by S. Carlson’s Plumbing, using a pry bar to break into and stole all the tools they could find. The thieves even broke into several storage containers and open up boxes with a box cutter to potentially steal the contents from those boxes.
“I think there must’ve been three, four or five guys.” speculates Carlson.
Once they gained access to the yard and went through the items to steal. One person went over to the front of the property and started to work on the gate.
“They took off the arm of the electric gate and then they pried the magnetic locking system apart somehow — and that’s how they got in. Once they got in I think they had a Uhaul box type of truck or van.”
Carlson deduces that they proceeded to fill the contents of the truck with stolen goods. Most were tools, but some heavier items like saws and masonry saws, weighing over a couple of 100 lbs were also taken. All items that were stolen from the three contractors total to a loss of over $100,000.
A few Carlson's employees had to take a couple of days off. A total of 12 employees from S. Carlson's Plumbing were affected, not including fellow contractors.
“Tools for 12 men adds up to a lot of money,” says Carlson though he does have tools on order and will be replacing all of them.
Fortunately for the team at S. Carlson’s Plumbing, they were able to keep working this week. Carlson was able to take the trucks that were not burglarized and spread the tools out between his staff to get the jobs done.”
Carlson Plumbing is offering a $10,000 reward to get the stolen tools back, catch the individuals and prosecute them. If you see someone trying to sell Milwaukee power tools for “ten cents on the dollar” call the police urges Carlson.
“At this point, there are no substantial suspect leads and the APD detectives are attempting to follow up,” said Sgt. Caleb Davis of the Atascadero Police Department.
Davis would like to remind business owners that good quality, easy to install surveillance systems are very helpful in investigating situations like these.
Carlson said that the Atascadero Police did a good job and were very thorough in processing the crime scene.
“They spent six hours at our yard, taking pictures, looking for fingerprints and they took some evidence into their lab. Kinda like on tv, like a real CSI.” said Carlson of the Atascadero Police work.
If you have any information contact the Atascadero Police Department at (805) 461-5051.