Thief steals $15K worth of tools from San Jose auto repair shop

An auto repair shop owner in San Jose returned from the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and found $15,000 worth of equipment gone. To make matters worse, the thief also stole blank checks and is cashing them in.

The owner of AAA Collision Repair has been in business since 2001. The business was in Mountain View and Santa Clara. In February, he moved the body shop to Tully Road in San Jose. He’s never had a break-in until now.

Rafael Gurrola came back from the four-day holiday weekend and found busted vents to the garage door of his business. The owner of AAA Collision Repair in San Jose suspects a thief used a tool and moved the large garbage bin to break into his body shop.

Once inside, the thief made off with most of his equipment including his power tools, welder and paint guns. Only a few hand tools remain.

“Right now, I can’t really work because I have no equipment,” said Gurrola. “It's very frustrating and very sad.”

The thief didn’t stop there and stole a camera, laptop, scanner and a stack of blank checks. On Monday, Gurrola got a call from the California Check Cashing store on Story Road five miles away of someone trying to cash a check there. Then, he received a similar call from a cashing store in Los Banos. 

Gurrola said it’s unclear if the person who cashed the checks is the actual thief or if he is paying someone to cash the checks for him.

Security cameras at Vo Auto Service captured a black SUV in front of the auto repair shop. The date stamp and time was last Friday at 2:56 a.m. A man is seen casing the cars. From the video, it shows him leaving 50 minutes later.

“We feel unsafe, really unsafe right now,” said Alvin Chan of Vo Auto Service. “We do have security cameras inside. We probably need to add more.”

Gurrola said the theft couldn't come at a worse time. Business is down and it’s the holidays.

“I’m worried about everything,” said Gurrola. “I’m worried about not paying rent. I’m worried about not paying my employees. I might need to get a loan.”

San Jose Police said so far, a suspect has not been identified. The owner has insurance. It covers damage done to the customers’ cars. He’s not sure if it will cover the break-in.