On Thursday morning…
I was woken up by a call from my Security company that a motion sensor had been set off at one of my stores. This particular one was behind the dryer wall and was sitting on top of a front load change machine. This sensor had been put there only a couple of weeks before.
Every so often I will empty out the coins in the change hopper to clean around the hopper of any extra coins and dust. When I did this I noticed there were bolts laying on the bottom of the changer. I looked around the back in the dryer area, this door just had a normal, lockable door handle as it didn’t go anywhere exciting. I saw someone had gotten in there and managed to loosen a couple of bolts and bend a piece of angle iron out of the way. This is when the motion sensor was put there and I installed a deadbolt.
Back to Thursday, I looked at the cameras and didn’t see any issue so I contacted the Police and explained where the sensor was and that the door still seemed to be locked. When I arrived at the store I took a look around and didn’t see any issues so I started loading some washers and opening the store.
A customer came in shortly after and went about her business, including using the change machine. After a couple of hours, someone was having a problem with the soda machine. When I went to help I noticed some damage to the lock. Then I looked at the changer and saw some damage there as well.
More details and pictures of how the damage was done will be on our Members Site so we can have some private discussions about prevention methods.
The Police came and made a few notes and I put together all of the video and pictures they would need.
My next steps always cause some discussion in the Laundromat Industry. Many owners would tell me to fix it as quick as possible and not tell anyone. Personally, I have found that exposing these issues makes your customers more aware of what I have to deal with and in most cases upsets them that someone would do the damage.
Since that original post, I have received a number of comments and messages. One message asked if anything had been stolen as someone came into another store, tried to buy something with a credit card that was denied and then paid with $20 in quarters. I am working with that store to get the video to the Police to see if it is the same person, at the very least it appears they may have been using a stolen credit card as the guy didn’t really seem to match the female name on the card.
Another comment that he seemed to be a person on Calhoun County’s Most Wanted list. A video that is sponsored by one of my other stores.
So what’s the cost and impact of putting it on Facebook?
As of noon Saturday I have spent about $10 and have 1,200 video views.
Over the past few years, I have put videos and pictures of any damage on my Facebook pages. In most cases, I have a name to provide to the Police with 48 hours. Although many times the people that are breaking into the machines and stealing from the stores have been charged before, and rarely do you get the compensation owed to you, I feel it is part of my civic duty to find and charge these people so just maybe I can help prevent it from happening to someone else.
Who knows the next place he breaks into maybe someone’s house? Or what if someone walked in on him?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.