Castro Valley family business van broken into 3 times in 6 months

A family in the East Bay is upset that their company van has been vandalized by would-be thieves three times, all within the last six months.

"The first time was more like a shocker," Charles King said. "Then the second time was 'OK, this is obviously a problem'. And then the third time, it was more like, this is a reality. Now at this point. It's more something we have to deal with instead of being shocked about." 

Drew Mickaels, the co-owner of Tommy's Collision Center in Hayward  where the van is being repaired, said it's a growing problem around the Bay Area.

"The whole steering column was all messed up," Mickaels said as he pointed to the repairs that had been made in the van. "We've had three different customers where we've fixed their repairs. And once the car was done, they call us back two weeks later and the car gets stolen again." 
At any given time, Mickaels shop has five to six ehicles needing repairs after being stolen or broken into. 

He said it makes up about 25% of his business.

"We don't need this kind of work," he said. "We get plenty of work without doing this."  

The King family said the most recent vandalism took place at the beginning of December, forcing them to cancel six events. They said they lost an estimated $12,000.

Charles said the family van was parked in the same spot next to their home in Castro Valley all three times when it was vandalized by people trying to steal the vehicle. 

He said each time, they broke the door lock and steering column, but that his family is "determined to keep the business going and hopefully this doesn't stop us."  

At the auto repair shop, Mickaels pointed to a black Infiniti SUV with a broken window and a dented rear bumper as an example of what police told him, that minors are the suspects in many thefts and attempted break ins.

Mickaels opened the SUV's door and revealed what was inside.

"Just garbage," he said. "This is what they do. It's just filthy. There are crack pipes and drugs in here."  

He said he hired a crew to clean up the mess, which cost about $700 to $800. 

As for the van belonging to the King family, they now have to figure out how to keep it safe.

"It's a family thing, it's what we built," King said. "It's a creation we did together, so it hurts. It honestly does."

The family hopes to resume their business sometime in January. 

The auto repair shop owner advised people to install a kill switch in their vehicle.  

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU.  Email Amber at or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU,  Instagram @AmberKTVU  or Twitter @AmberKTVU.