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Thieves ram vehicle into building to steal cash

November 05, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION

PIKESIDE, W.Va. - Someone already tried to break into Steven Martin's car wash business two times this year, but he was a little overwhelmed when he saw the latest attempt Friday.

When Martin arrived at work Friday morning, he noticed a wall leading into a block building was smashed in, allowing burglars to gain access to a money changer.

A heavy door on the back of the bill changer was pried open and money inside was taken, Martin said. Martin believes whomever broke in must have used a heavy piece of machinery to plow through the block building.

The bill changer was destroyed, and that piece of equipment alone will cost $6,000 to replace, said Martin. He declined to say how much money was taken from the bill changer.

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"It's an impressive piece of work. I can't believe someone would have risked their equipment to do this. They meant business this time," said Martin, manager of the business.

The car wash is at Tablers Station Airport Self Storage, located at the intersection of U.S. 11 and Tablers Station Road south of Martinsburg.

The vehicle rammed a section of wall and a door leading into the building, said Martin. He said the burglars must have created a loud disturbance.

Martin said the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department is investigating the break-in. The sheriff's department also investigated the two previous break-in attempts at the car wash, Martin said.

A dispatcher at the sheriff's department said a deputy was investigating the crime, but he was not working Friday.

The first break-in attempt at the car wash occurred last July when someone rammed the door on the block building with a car, Martin said. The person gained entry to the building and tried unsuccessfully to pry open the bill changer, Martin said.

About 10 days after that incident, someone tried to break a dead bolt lock on the door, Martin said.

The car wash and self-storage business, located in a rural area, was opened two years ago by Martin's father.

Martin said the most recent break-in occurred between 9 p.m. Thursday night when he left the business and 8:30 a.m. Friday.

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