SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – One of several keys taken during a burglary at an auto business over the weekend was used to steal a vehicle from the lot.
We previously reported that officers responded to a burglary Saturday at Spartanburg Auto Mall on John B. White Sr. Boulevard.
An employee told police that when he arrived at work he noticed that plywood had been pushed open on the right side of the building, and that a couch that had been directly in front of the plywood had been moved.
The employee also showed officers a key that was on the ground by the door of the business, as well as showed them the managers office where a keyboard and keys were on the ground.
According to a police report, the employee said that managers were able to see two masked men go inside the business on motion-activated cameras.
The video showed two masked men go inside the business by moving the plywood.
One man was wearing a dark color and white striped shirt, light denim shorts and black shoes. The other man was wearing a black shirt and dark denim pants, as well as appeared to be wearing glasses.
On the video, the men were seen running to the front main desk and quickly looked around and under the desk.
They then went into the direction of the manager’s office.
Spartanburg Auto Mall said they are missing approximately 30 sets of keys, including keys to several Ford and Chevrolet vehicles.
Police said the suspects returned to the business on Monday night and stole a Chevrolet Equinox.
A salesman at the car lot told us that those vehicles tend to be the most popular cars they sell.
“I get a call at about 1:00 in the morning: ‘Hey, somebody’s been up at the store,'” Leo Sander said.
Cleaning up broken glass, installing a new window, and having to talk with police is not how Leo Sander wanted to start his work week, but thanks to two men who broke into Spartanburg Auto Mall, where Sander works, that was at the top of his to-do list on Tuesday.
“They pushed through a piece of plywood that was up there, then run over to a desk, start searching the desk,” Sander said. “They take a handbag that was left in the showroom off of one of the desks in the office, fill it with the Ford and Chevy keys and then take off.”
Sander told 7News this is the third time in just a few weeks that the business has been targeted.
“We actually made some arrests of some people after some vehicles were stolen before,” Major Art Littlejohn with the Spartanburg Police Department said. “We also actually made another arrest of someone in the business not long ago.”
After getting away with about 30 sets of keys over the weekend, the thieves returned to the scene of the crime Monday night.
“We discovered that a Ford Focus had been moved from its original parking spot, and it was actually sitting in the middle of our lower lot,” Sander said.
Because employees blocked the entrance and exit to the lot, the thieves weren’t able to get that car out. But they did get away with a silver 2005 Chevy Equinox.
The Spartanburg Police Department is now reviewing surveillance footage and dusting cars for fingerprints.
“I’m not sure why they continue to target this particular business, but we have increased patrols in the area,” Littlejohn said.
Because of the theft, the business is taking a big financial hit.
They told 7News the Equinox was valued at about $4,000, and they’re having to spend an extra $2,000 to have cars re-keyed.
“Not being able to start some cars, not being able to show some cars, it really affects paychecks, and it affects us being able to move some vehicles,” Sander said.
The business is now offering a reward to help catch the people responsible for the theft and burglary.
If you have information, call the Spartanburg Police Department.