NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Three businessmen who own a number of car washes on the Southside are working together to find the man responsible for vandalizing their businesses.
Green Clean Auto Wash owner Shaun Everett said his business on N. Military Highway was vandalized around 2 a.m. Saturday, August 16. That evening, Everett said someone broke into three other car wash locations of his in Virginia Beach and Portsmouth. In each case, someone is using a tool to destroy and pry off the meter box customers use to select a car wash service and pay. The suspect is then collecting the money inside each meter box.
“It starts in shock and goes to frustration, and anger, and just disappointment,” Everett said. “We work hard to keep our business running. And there’s enough challenges out there without having someone come in and violently beat a door up to get a few dollars.”
Everett said the suspect isn’t getting away with much cash, but the cost to repair the damage isn’t cheap. He only had surveillance video from his Norfolk location, but said the suspect’s tactics have been the same at each of his businesses.
After the initial break-ins, Everett called several other car wash owners in the area. Barry Little owns Solar Wash on Virginia Beach Boulevard in Norfolk. He spoke to Everett on the phone last weekend. Then he came into work on Tuesday to find someone had vandalized his business late Monday, August 18.
“It was literally the most disheartening feeling that you can possibly imagine,” Little said.
Three of his meter boxes were destroyed, along with a vending machine.
“The damage was substantial,” he explained. “I’ve estimated probably close to $13,000 in damage, and the person that did it literally probably didn’t get $5.”
The owner of Clean Wave Car Wash on Laskin Road in Virginia Beach said his business was vandalized on Monday night, as well. The owner told WAVY News’ Liz Palka this was the third time in one month his car wash was targeted.
The car wash owners that have been affected are now working together to catch the suspect or suspects. Everett said they’ve compared surveillance video and images captured. They believe the person in the video is the same one vandalizing all the car washes. The man in the video appears to use an axe and sledgehammer to pry the meter boxes off the wall.
“We’re looking for him,” Everett said. “We know what vehicle he drives. We have a description and we’re providing all that to police, as well.”
Everett and Little said they are personally offering a $500 reward for information that leads to an arrest.
A Virginia Beach Police spokesperson confirmed detectives are working the case. The spokesperson encouraged people with information to call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.