A rash of thefts from coin-operated washers and dryers across San Luis Obispo has police asking residents to watch out for suspicious laundry-room activity.
So far this month, 16 laundry-room burglaries have been reported, most in apartment complexes in the southern part of the city, according to a news release from San Luis Obispo police.
The thief pries open the metal coin boxes with tools and steals the money inside, police said. In several cases, water lines were cut and the machines were turned upside down to get the coins out. Numerous machines have been destroyed, police said.
One of the burglaries was witnessed by a resident, according to the news release. The thief was described as a white or Hispanic man in his late 30s or early 40s, about 5 feet, 9 inches tall with dark hair, wearing a sweatshirt and blue jeans. When the resident confronted the thief, he left the area on a single-speed BMX-type bicycle, police said.
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Residents are being asked to report any suspicious behavior near laundry rooms to the San Luis Obispo Police Department at 781-7317.
"The suspect is obviously making a lot of noise during these burglaries, and we are hoping that someone hears him and calls the police," Lt. Bill Proll wrote in the news release. "The suspect is also probably in possession of a large amount of coins."