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
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
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."