NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Solar Wash off Virginia Beach Boulevard in Norfolk has been operating since the 1980’s. It’s normally a busy spot. However, as of late last week there haven’t been many customers and the reason was all caught on surveillance camera.
“We have a lot of clips. All the moves he made the night, both nights,” said the owner, Gus Angelopoulos.
Thursday night, a thief burglarized all but one of the wash stalls and busted open the self-pay machines.
“He had a crowbar, and he was able to buckle all the pay stations in the stalls and got the cash out of there,” explained Angelopoulos.
Angelopoulos reported it to police but says they only took a report over the phone that night. Then, to his surprise the thief came back again the next night. That time, breaking into the last wash stall and yanking two vacuums off the stands. The suspect also tried to break into the mechanical room before the alarm went off.
“That thing was busted real bad; I couldn’t even open it,” he said.
There was so much damage, firefighters had to open the door the next morning and clean up the live wires left behind from yanking out the vacuums. Angelopoulos says this is a big setback, especially when the parts they need in order to get back up and running are expected to take about six months to arrive.
“I never knew somebody would come and do damage for just a few dollars. To take a thousand bucks maybe, but to do $20,000-$30,000 in damage. It’s unbelievable,” Angelopoulos said.
The incidents have forced him to shut down all but one automatic wash stall.
“I can’t fix it. I have to buy new bundles for each stall,” he said.
On the upside, some customers still come by to use the last few vacuums that are still working, but the fear isn’t over for the owner, who also owns the Solar Wash in Chesapeake. He’s worried it will be targeted next if the suspect isn’t stopped.
Angelopoulos is now offering $1,000 to anyone who can identify the suspect, leading to a conviction.
Norfolk Police say they are investigating the case. If you know anything, please give them a call.