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Today's word on journalism

Friday, May 12, 2006

THE FINAL WORD

PETERSBORO, Utah -- Gloom like a Bulwer-Lyttonesque pall hung heavily over the Cache Valley as word came that the WORD had gone.

"As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire. . . ." No, wait. . . . That's actual Bulwer-Lyttonism. Scratch it.

We conclude, with joy and trumpets and a tankard or two, the 10th season of TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM. What began in 1995 as a professor's strategy to get his students to read email (guess that worked!) now has spread, birdflu-like, far beyond that unwilling audience to self-flagellating WORD volunteers on five-and-a-half continents. But the willing and unwilling alike--the halt and addled and addicted and deluded--will have to get a life and smell the roses, for a while anyway.

Today marks the end of the WORD for this academic season. Even ere the rosy dawn that didth bust o'er this glade, this vale, this happy home. . . . ooops. Avert already, Sir Bulwer, you mangy cur!!!!

See you in the fall. . . TP

Car wash burglars hit Buggy Bath

By Liz Lawyer

April 1, 2006 | Another in a string of car wash burglaries was attempted late Thursday night or early Friday morning at the Buggy Bath in Logan.

Tire marks on the pavement showed someone backed a vehicle into the metal door of a combination machinery room and office in an attempt to break it down, according to the police report. The owner said he keeps money in vaults in the office, but the burglars did not get into the office.

"They think if they can get in there there's going to be stacks of money," said Tres Nixon, owner of the Buggy Bath. Nixon said he was able to get the door bent back into shape, but had to replace the lock.

Lt. Richard Salvesen of the Logan Police Department said car wash burglaries are "an ongoing thing around here," because people target the change machines. However, he said he does not think the robberies are connected.

"I don't recognize how they did this one," he said.

Nixon said this is the third incident in the past three months at the Buggy Bath. He said three weeks ago someone tried to bash in the locks on the door, and pried open a payment kiosk in a car wash stall to get the quarters inside. He said they could not have gotten much, since the quarters drop down into a safe below the kiosk that would be very difficult to get into, and the burglars apparently didn't even try to open the door to the safe. They also tried to get money out of one of the vacuum stations. That time, damages cost him $350. He said if he replaced everything that was damaged instead of repairing and making equipment work as well as he can, the cost would be much higher.

"They're amateurs. They're definitely not pros," he said.

He said he has owned the car wash for 19 years and during that time only had three episodes with vandals and burglars. Now there have been three incidents in only three months.

"I think it's going to get worse. I think [the increase in frequency] is a little bit indicative of what's going to happen," he said. "That's what goes along with increased population."

Nixon's car wash faces open fields, and no one lives nearby, so no one could have heard the burglars. He said he owns another car wash in Smithfield but hasn't had the same problems with it, and attributes that to the fact there are several residences nearby.

The Foothill Car Wash on 1400 North was burglarized recently, as well. Josh Dalley, an attendant who has worked at the car wash for six years, said the perpetrators backed into the door of the office and machinery room, just like at the Buggy Bath. Like the Buggy Bath, the Foothill car wash faces undeveloped land. The thieves were unsuccessful because the money was kept in vaults, but buying a new door cost about $1,000.

Dalley said previous burglaries included cutting the locks on a change machine. All told, he said he estimates the damage done by burglars in the past year has cost the car wash between $1,500 and $2,000. He said police suspected this incident was done by someone with experience.

Other car washes in Cache Valley have had similar problems. The SuperWash near Macey's at the south end of Main Street has been hit four times within the past month and a half, according to the manager. Kent Nyman, the manager, said the SuperWash has been burglarized twice on the same nights several other businesses were also targeted. He said several SuperWashes were robbed over the space of a couple of days, including the one in Logan, and the 6-inch steel vault heads were cut, leading police to suspect a professional ring.

Nyman said about $600 or $700 has been taken from the SuperWash. The last time it was hit the burglars got nothing, but the car wash has suffered about $2,500 worth of damage.

Nyman said almost every time the SuperWash was hit, Nixon's Buggy Bath has been hit as well. Most recently, he said, two men robbed the Buggy Bath and then bought gas, cigarettes and beer at the service station next door -- using all quarters. This was a good tip for the police, Nyman said, who used surveillance videos to identify the burglars. They were arrested and let out on bail, and Nyman said one of them left him an apology letter he thinks was meant to get the judge to be more lenient.

However, Nyman said, the two were picked up again while out on bail -- this time on suspicion of burglary of 51 schools, restaurants and businesses.

There are other burglaries yet unsolved. Dalley said the Foothill car wash is working on getting surveillance cameras installed. Nyman and Nixon said they are also taking measures to make sure nothing more happens.

"They won't get away with it forever. They'll always get caught," Nyman said. "They'll make a mistake, or someone will see something."

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