Auto shop hit in ‘strange’ theft |

Auto shop hit in ‘strange’ theft

Deputies are looking for a car thief who broke into a Grass Valley auto repair shop through a ceiling vent, stole a Ford Mustang, then left it in the mud with the keys inside – minus the stereo.

Tom Stanton, owner of Tom’s Car Care on the 13000 block of Highway 174, arrived at work Thursday to find his customer’s black 2002 Mustang missing and his roof damaged.

“(The burglar) kicked out some sheet rock and came through the vent,” Stanton said. “We’re trying to figure out why he came here.”

The shop contains other valuable items, he said, and he doesn’t understand why the burglar – after breaking into the shop’s office to steal the car’s keys – took only the vehicle, which was parked outside.

“It’s very, very strange,” Stanton said.

About seven hours after Stanton reported the theft, a resident called sheriff’s dispatchers to report the Mustang was parked in the mud off of Greenhorn Road.

Deputies unlocked the car and the keys were in the ignition, Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal said.

The Mustang’s stereo, subwoofers and some tools – worth about $1,500, Stanton said – were missing.

“About 20 years ago, we started seeing more cars stolen strictly for purpose of taking stereos and related items,” Royal said. “These younger kids would install expensive stereos, worth as much as $2,000. I haven’t seen as many reports of this happening in recent years, but it still occurs.”

The damage done to vehicles when burglars rip stereos out of dashes is often more expensive than the stereo systems themselves, Royal said.

Deputies lifted fingerprints at the shop and on the vehicle, he said, and sent them to the California Department of Justice crime lab in Sacramento.

It will be several weeks until results return from the lab because the lab gives precedence to cases in which police have a suspect, Royal said.

Stanton said he has never been burglarized before.

“It sucks,” Stanton said. “The Mustang’s owner is a good friend of the shop.”

No arrests have been made in connection to the burglary, Royal said.

To help prevent burglaries, he recommend business owners install alarm systems, deadbolts, good locks on windows and extra reinforcement on roof venting systems.


To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail or call 477-4236.

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