July 7, 2017
Kingaroy businessman Richard Mason is angry that thieves looking for easy cash have caused between $60,000 and $70,000 damage during two raids on his car wash.
Mr Mason, the owner of Kingaroy Car and Dog Wash in Rogers Drive, told southburnett.com.au he had been targeted twice by the same thieves within days … on June 29 and July 2.
As well as having to replace damaged equipment, Mr Mason also lost trading income while his business was out of action.
“Since we opened the business, we have always tried to do the right thing by our customers. We have not lifted our prices at all,” Mr Mason said.
“And then things like this happen.”
The thieves struck in the early hours of the morning when few people would have been in the area.
Mr Mason said images of the suspects and a red Commodore sedan – believed to have been stolen – were caught on his CCTV cameras.
This information has been turned over to police.
Mr Mason believes his cameras also caught images of the thieves checking out the business on an earlier occasion, before they returned later to wreak havoc.
They destroyed the main box at the entry to the car wash, broke into two vacuum machines, and completely removed and took away three vending machines from a wall.
A chain was connected to some of the items which were pulled free by the Commodore.
Mr Mason said one of the thieves had a lucky escape when he went to pick up one of the dislodged machines, a $25,000 piece of equipment ripped from the ground by the chain. The box was still connected to the power and as sparks flew wildly, the thief could easily have been electrocuted.
The amounts of money stolen were not great but it is the collateral damage that has hurt the business.
“The machines are the most expensive part of the thefts,” Mr Mason said.
He said he had been lucky in being able to source a hard-to-find replacement unit for one of the items.
“We are getting everything up and running as fast as we can,” he said.
Mr Mason believes a similar incident at the Colinton service station could be related to his thefts.
In the early hours of July 2, a vehicle rammed through the glass doors at the front of the station shop on the D’Aguilar Highway. The thieves then attached a rope or chain to an ATM inside the shop and attempted to pull it away. However, on this occasion the machine broke in half.
[UPDATE July 10: Mr Mason said his business had actually been targeted three times, as a coin box was damaged during the thieves’ first visit]