AUSTIN, Texas - At least three people broke into an East Austin business, loaded thousands of dollars worth of equipment onto the company’s trailer, and drove off.
Nick Gonzales, manager of AAA Auger Plumbing Austin, said the break-in occurred around 3 a.m. Tuesday. The incident was caught on camera.
Video showed the trio cut a lock and entered the business's yard. They stole a trailer and hitched it to their Jeep. They loaded the trailer with two lawnmowers, a weed eater, and a 100-foot spool of jetter hose. They also broke a window and stole office equipment and turned on two backhoes.
Gonzales believed they did so using a screwdriver. He thinks the trio was also attempting to steal the backhoes, but were scared off by an alarm.
He noted that it was unusual "for them to take a jetter hose, know how to hitch the trailer, turn on a backhoe, let alone operate it."
Mechanic David Apperley arrived minutes after the break-in. He said the lights were still on and the gate was open. He called 9-1-1 and asked the dispatcher for an officer. He said they told him "they were too busy."
Apperley said he had two more unsuccessful interactions with dispatchers. He called the response a "slap in the face" and asked "Who do we turn to? You know, who do we call?"
Gonzales called 3-1-1 around 7:30 a.m. and was able to secure an incident number.
Apperley estimates $6,000 to $7,000 worth of equipment was stolen. He spent an additional $3,500 on repairs and security improvements he said he is "far from done" with.
"As long as the cops are not going to come, they'll be back tomorrow." he said.
"Our current policy is APD does not send officers to most crimes where the suspect(s) is/are not on scene or the crime is not in progress. We refer complainants to iReport Austin or 311 to file non-emergency police reports," a department spokesperson stated.
"It makes me feel like we're on our own. We have to deal with protecting ourselves and spending money to protect ourselves," Gonzales said.
Late Tuesday afternoon, Apperley said an officer visited the business.
"I guess [FOX 7] pushed a button or something," he stated.
He said the business was burglarized at least three times previously. This is the first time an officer has ever responded in-person.