Upstate car wash owners catch suspected thieves on camera - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Upstate car wash owners catch suspected thieves on camera

Surveillance photo from Super Suds Car Wash. (Source: Ken Howard) Surveillance photo from Super Suds Car Wash. (Source: Ken Howard)
Surveillance photo from Happy Express Car Wash. (Source: Dave Mitchem) Surveillance photo from Happy Express Car Wash. (Source: Dave Mitchem)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Several Upstate car wash owners say they've caught people smashing their money machines and grabbing cash.

According to Spartanburg police, there was a report and surveillance video of a grab at Rick's Car Wash over the weekend.

"They didn't really hurt this machine. They knew how to get in and get the money without destroying it," said Ken Howard.

Howard, who owns nine Super Suds Car Wash sites in Greenville County, Greer, and Simpsonville said he spoke with the owner of Rick's, and was told that the machine didn't have much damage to it.

Howard said he's had at least five of his hit and lost a couple hundred dollars, but had to shell out thousands to fix the machines.

"This rash right here started about three weeks ago. They first hit a location of ours in Simpsonville and destroyed the changer, about $5,500 worth of equipment. They probably got $300 or $400," said Howard.

Then, he said, they hit that machine again, costing him more money.

"Well it's part of the business, but it's not common. It's something we've got to put up with," said Howard.

Dave Mitchem, the owner of Wash Me and Happy Car Express Wash, can relate to Howard's problem.

Mitchem said he's had a man, who he believes is the same one who hit Howard's locations, also hit his coin boxes with an axe.

"It tears up a machine. It takes us a week to get parts. We have to put the machines back together. People can't get to the wash," said Mitchem.

He wants the people who are stealing from him to understand they're costing him thousands, while they're only walking away with a few hundred at most.

"There's not much money on site," said Mitchem.

Mitchem is offering a $250 reward for anyone who can help identify the thief who hit his car washes.

If you have any information, call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

Copyright 2014 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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