Crime

Thieves steal $100,000 in tools from Atascadero contractors

Atascadero Police Department is experimenting with a new tattoo policy allowing officers on duty to show certain tattoos.
Atascadero Police Department is experimenting with a new tattoo policy allowing officers on duty to show certain tattoos. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Atascadero police are searching for suspects after a plumber and two other contractors had tens of thousands of dollars of equipment stolen from a storage yard early Saturday morning.

Steve Carlson, owner of S. Carlson's Plumbing, said thieves cut through a fence separating his property on the 1600 block of El Camino Real from Highway 101.

Once they were inside the yard, he said, the thieves broke into storage containers and parked utility trucks, stealing power tools and other equipment.

Then, they opened the entry gate, loaded the stolen items into a vehicle and drove off, Carlson said.

In addition to Carlson's equipment, the thieves took items belonging to Foundation Solutions and Masonry by Darin, two other contracting businesses storing trucks and tools in his yard.

Altogether, Carlson estimated the stolen items were worth about $100,000.

"Today, I really didn't have tools to send guys out on the job," he said.

Sgt. Jeff Wilshusen of the Atascadero Police Department said detectives are actively investigating the burglary to see if it matches up with any others that have occurred throughout the county.

He said police estimate the thieves stole at least $50,000 worth of items, but he expects the value to go up as the owners continue to inventory the stolen property.

The break-in appears to have been planned, but police haven't yet identified any suspects or witnesses, Wilshusen said.

Carlson said he didn't have any security cameras installed at the time of the burglary, but he said he's already planning to invest in an alarm system.

Anyone with information about the break-in is encouraged to call the Atascadero Police Department at 805-461-5051 or Crime Stoppers at 805-549-7867.

Lindsey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lindseymholden
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