Metro-East News

Overkill? Thief uses track hoe to steal coins from car wash

Track hoe tears up car wash for small change

Easy Street Auto Wash owner Bill Spiller talks about the damage to his business when a thief stole track hoe from Baxmeyer Construction and drove it a half mile just to get at the change from his car wash.
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Easy Street Auto Wash owner Bill Spiller talks about the damage to his business when a thief stole track hoe from Baxmeyer Construction and drove it a half mile just to get at the change from his car wash.

When David Baxmeyer heard that one of his pieces of heavy equipment had been taken from a construction area and moved a half mile early Sunday morning, he couldn’t believe it.

Not only was an 80,000-pound track hoe moved from a road-widening project near the intersection of Green Mount Road and Cambridge Boulevard, but whoever took it tried to use the machine to break into some coin machines at the Easy Street Car Wash, 650 U.S. 50. O’Fallon police said the culprit was able to get into one coin machine, but the person also damaged the building in the process.

“It’s mind-boggling how it got there,” said Baxmeyer, who is president of the Waterloo-based Baxmeyer Construction. “Whoever did it had to know what they were doing.”

The burglary took place around 5 a.m. Sunday. Baxmeyer said it probably took at least 20 minutes to get the machine from the job site to the car wash.

“It wasn’t like he went down (U.S.) 50 either,” Baxmeyer said.

Capt. Jim Cavins said O’Fallon police were gathering surveillance footage from area residents and businesses in an attempt to identify the person responsible. O’Fallon recently started a program where citizens could register their home surveillance systems with police. Cavins encouraged anyone who may have seen anything to contact police.

Cavins was unsure of the route the driver took to get from the work site to the car wash. He was unaware of any damage to any of the town’s roads. The amount of money taken from coin machine was not known, Cavins said.

Baxmeyer said the machine was locked. He said the person responsible for moving it had to have had a key in order to operate the machine. The person tried to use the scoop on the front of the machine to knock the coin machine off the side of the building. In the process of doing that, the person wound up hitting the roof of the structure.

While there was some damage to the car wash, including the roof, the track hoe was not damaged. Baxmeyer said he had to call a trailer to get the machine moved back to the work site Sunday.

This is not an advertisement for Baxmeyer Construction, but a search to find out who tried to steal our trackhoe and...

Posted by David Baxmeyer on Sunday, February 26, 2017

Don O’Brien: 618-239-2626, @DOBrienBND

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