Big City Car Wash open despite break-in damage

Big City Car Wash owner Rudy van Woerkom stands in one of his business’ bays. Although the touchless carwash was damaged in a break-in, the main part of the facility is fully operational. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

by Stephen Dafoe

Damage to Big City’s Touchless Bay.

Two weeks after would-be thieves broke into Big City Car Wash in Morinville’s industrial park, there is much work to be done repairing the damage, but the owners want customers to know they are open for business.

In the early morning hours of Dec. 6, the car wash was broken into, causing significant damage to the touchless bay and its equipment that will take a few months to repair and considerable damage to change machines and other equipment in the rest of the facility.

Morinville RCMP Acting Detachment Commander Sgt. Lew Simms told that Morinville RCMP responded to the break-in at 2:54 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6.

“On arrival, RCMP members spotted a pickup truck, a Ford F-350, later determined to be stolen, parked near the drive-through bay of the car wash,” Simms said. “A male individual was seen running to the driver’s side of the vehicle and drove through the car wash bay, on exit, rammed one of the police vehicles, causing significant damage.”

Simms explained the vehicle then drove through a chain link fence and into the ditches to escape. The officer involved was not injured.

“The vehicle sustained significant damage and became immobilized,” Simms said, adding four individuals were arrested and taken into custody without incident. “Those individuals are facing charges in connection to this incident. The individuals charged are not local in our area.”

While there is some comfort that police apprehended those accused of breaking into the local business, there is still a lot of cleanup and repair to be done.

Big City Car Wash owner Rudy van Woerkom said damage to his business is estimated to be between $300,000 and $400,000. It is a frustrating situation for the owners. Although the business has insurance, repairs to the facility must come solely from Big City’s insurance, not those who did the damage.

“People seem to think that there’s millions of dollars in a car wash,” van Woerkom said. “It’s a business like anything else, and nowadays, there is less and less cash. So the damage caused is incredible compared to the rewards, even if they do get all of the cash.”

The most significant damage was to the automated touchless car wash, estimated at $250,000. It will take a few months to bring in from the United States.

“It’s a significant impact on the business by having that down,” van Woerkom said, noting his concern about potentially losing customers to other businesses long term while the touchless equipment is replaced.

He wants customers to know that despite the touchless damage, the rest of the facility is open to serve clients. “We’re definitely not closed. The regular wash bays and the large-size bay are open, and we’re hopefully going to get more people in.”

Big City Car Wash owner Rudy van Woerkom stands by one of the coin machines damaged in the incident. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

Big City touchless car wash bay and its doors were damaged in the Dec. 6 break-in. – Stephen Dafoe Photo


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