AUSTIN (KXAN) – A manager at Hi-Tech Automotive on South Congress, founded in 1987, said a man walked in over the weekend while the store was closed.
“The alarm went off, it was really loud,” said Mona, the manager who came in after she got an alarm, the alarm sounded.
She said the man pictured on the right stole $10,000-$20,000 worth of tools, as well as car keys worth about $300,000.
“It’s definitely scary. Austin is not about that. “Austin is a great place and it hasn’t been like that,” she said.
Mona said that once she discovered the keys were stolen, she used other vehicles to block the cars to which those keys belong in the lot. She said she reviewed the surveillance footage and while she was in the store doing so – she saw the man walk by.
“An officer came out around 11am and when they saw there was no person of interest – they left,” Mona said. “And then when I called back and said he’s here now and on my property, they said they’d send someone over as soon as they could. But several hours passed and no one came.”
The Austin Police Department said it received the report online and officers are investigating.
Something similar happened at the European Market Without Borders north of Austin.
Co-owner Tatiana Bogdanovych said the store was hit twice over the weekend.
“The front door is broken, it’s an even bigger mess,” she said.
She told KXAN that someone also burglarized the market in February, which police confirmed.
Both Bogdanovych and Mona say they are concerned that a report on iReportAustin.com doesn’t do enough to catch or deter criminals.
“I wish we could do something to help catch those people, but no one came to collect fingerprints or the items that we need to check for fingerprints,” Bogdanovych said. “And we’re not the police.”
Police say online reporting of property crimes like these allows officers to respond more quickly 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 non-violent crimes that were no longer in progress. This change occurred in response to a combination of higher call volumes and lower staffing levels.
According to the 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 Monday. The department also says it is currently holding 1,287 311 calls in the return queue. This translates into a waiting period of four to five days for a call.
At Hi-Tech Automotive, Mona spent the afternoon with tape and a laminated tape of her surveillance footage, putting up posters around South Congress. She says she wants to do something besides reporting online crime. The business is also offering a $1,000 reward to 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 is also asking the man in the video to drop the keys in the office drop box.