Crowbar carrying crooks caught on cam, targeting coin-operated carwashes

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Crowbar carrying crooks caught on cam, targeting coin-operated carwashes

CREATED Feb 11, 2013

Reporter: Maggie Vespa

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Amid this kind of weather, you probably aren't thinking of hitting up a carwash.

But someone out there is, and not in the way you would think.

Tucson police say a couple of crow bar carrying crooks may be to blame for tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage in a petty, penny-grubbing pattern in crime.

And that has one small business owner reaching out to us and you for help.

The footage is crystal clear.

The tactics are brazenly bold.

Two men, bare faced under bright lights taking crow bars, sometimes from up their sleeves, to coin operated carwash machines.

"We're not Coca Cola.  We're a local, family-owned business,” said Bubble Bath Carwash owner Gregg Bergquist.

Bergquist, who also happens to own a video surveillance company, says these pilfering punks have made repeat performances at least six times since Christmas.

All overnight.  All out in the open.

And here is the kicker!

“For the most part, it's just pure vandalism and damage that results in no gain on his part,” said Bergquist.

Meaning, that's right, the profit margin for these two is a big, fat goose egg.

Still the damage adds up.

For Bergquist the cost comes in at more than $3,000, and he's not alone.

“As he had less and less success at this carwash, he started driving around to the other properties in this area,” he said, referring to the vandals.

Police believe total, these two have racked up more than $30,000 in damages.

"It's a crime that is easily accessible,” said Detective April Peña.

That makes this video infinitely valuable, and so far, it's paying off with the arrest of Michael Dixon.

Police believe he is the one wearing the hat and sunglasses.

Now, they're on the hunt for his partner in, what they call, a gateway crime.

"It's the beginning of their crime spree as far as we can tell,” Peña.  “With each incident, they'll work into higher level crimes of robbery, burglary of a house."

A point that leaves Bergquist, hoping the community will keep an eye out.

"He's attacking the way our family earns money and provides for our family,” he said.  “That's why we're going to 9OYS to create the environment that bad behavior should stop."

Michael Dixon faces charges of third degree burglary, felony criminal damage and possession of burglary tools.

If you recognize that second man, or have any information that will help track him down, you are urged to call TPD immediately.