Everything’s Gone: Recovery After Burglary

The morning after Christmas, Fresno Glass LLC of Fresno, Calif., had three visitors—and none of them were Santa Claus.

The glass shop, which provides auto, commercial and residential glass services, was broken into and $50,000 to $100,000 worth of tools were stolen.

“I think it’s just a lot for us to handle, because now we have to buy all these tools,” says Cesar Montes, manager of Fresno Glass LLC. Montes’s father owns the business.

Now a month later, Montes says the shop is still trying to recover from the incident. The thieves also stole office computers containing invoice information and trashed the shop by tossing paperwork everywhere.

Montes says the thieves got in through a fence behind the shop by cutting a lock, then slid something flat into the back door to disable the locked door.

“From there, they just got in and they carried everything out,” Montes says. A neighbor witnessed three men and a white Chevy pickup at the shop. Among the tools stolen were windshield removal tools, caulking guns and suction cups for setting devices; batteries for power tools, hand tools, belt sanders and rolling toolboxes. “To me, it does kind of seem like they knew what they were looking for,” Montes says. Batteries and catalytic converters were also stolen out of company vehicles, and a MacBook but that was thrown in an empty section of the company’s building.

Fresno Glass had installed tracking devices on some of the tools. Montes says some of the less expensive ones were found two blocks away.

This isn’t the first time this happened. The shop was broken into two or three years ago, Montes says, when $12,000 in tools were stolen and the shop’s roll-up door was destroyed. Insurance only reimbursed the company for about $5,000 then. Montes says he hopes to get reimbursed more this time because they learned a few years ago that full-coverage insurance is worth the extra expense.

After this break-in, Montes says he has installed extra locks on doors, including multiple deadbolts and a padlock on the back door, and placed padlocks on toolboxes.

“I’d probably say just put a couple of trackers on your tools,” Montes says of offering advice to other shops on protecting property. “Secure your tools, your building.” Montes suggests installing cameras and a steel fence. “Secure the building, and make sure it’s difficult for them to get in.”

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