AUSTIN (KXAN) — A manager at Hi-Tech Automotive on South Congress, established in 1987, said a man broke in over the weekend while the shop was closed.
“The alarm went off. It was really loud,” said Mona, the manager who came in after she got an alert the alarm sounded.
She said the man pictured to the right stole $10,000-$20,000 worth of tools and keys to about $300,000 worth of cars.
“It’s definitely scary. This isn’t what Austin is about. Austin is a great place, and it didn’t use to be like this,” she said.
Mona said once she found out the keys were stolen, she used other vehicles to block the cars those keys belong to into the lot. She said she reviewed the surveillance footage, and while she was at the shop doing so, she saw the man walking by.
“An officer came out around 11 a.m. and when they saw there was no person of interest, they left,” Mona said. “And then when I called again and said he’s here right now and on my property, they said they would send somebody as soon as they could. But a couple of hours went by and nobody came.”
The Austin Police Department said it received the online report, and officers are investigating.
Something similar happened at Borderless European Market in north Austin.
Co-owner Tatiana Bogdanovych said the store was hit twice over the weekend.
“The front door is smashed. It’s an even bigger mess,” she said.
She told KXAN someone also burglarized the market in February, which police confirmed.
Both Bogdanovych and Mona said they’re worried making a report to iReportAustin.com doesn’t do enough to catch or deter criminals.
“I wish we could do something to help catch those people, but nobody came to collect fingerprints or the items that we have to check for fingerprints,” said Bogdanovych. “And we’re not police.”
Police said the online reporting for property crimes like these allows officers to more quickly respond to higher-priority calls like assaults and other violent incidents.
In October, APD asked the public to start calling 311 or using iReportAustin.com for nonviolent crimes that were no longer in progress. That shift happened in response to a combination of higher call volumes and lower staff levels.
According to APD’s emergency communications department, there is currently no backlog for online reports, but as of Monday afternoon, there were 58 reports in the queue due to it being a Monday. The department also said it’s currently holding 1,287 311 calls in the call-back queue. That translates to a four-to-five-day waiting period for a callback.
At Hi-Tech Automotive, Mona spent the afternoon with tape and a laminated still from her surveillance footage, sticking posters around South Congress. She said wants to do something besides just report the crime online. The business is also offering a $1,000 reward for anyone with information leading to an arrest.
“It’s important that we work to keep people like this out of our community,” she said.
She’s also asking the man in the video to drop the keys off at the office drop box.