Petersburg auto shop owner fed up with string of thefts from cars

The Tri-Cities

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — A series of car thefts at a Petersburg auto shop has the owner fed up and asking for help.

Ronnie Walker said that he’s had to deal with multiple car thefts at his shop in Petersburg. Last year, a car was stolen from his lot and now parts have gone missing from Walker’s own customer’s vehicles. He’s hoping clues caught by security cameras can catch the culprits.

“This is destruction, you know,” Michael Thompson told 8News on Friday.

Thompson’s Lincoln was a mess after he left it unlocked at Ronnie’s Automotive Service in Petersburg.

“There was an in-dash TV, electronic box in the back,” Thompson said. “They tore the trim ring up, they did the control modules here where you get your heat and air.”

Walker told 8News that cars parked at his shop have been a continuous target for thieves. Car parts and personal items have been stolen.

“I’m very frustrated,” he said. “No, I’m beyond frustrated. I’m full up.”

Some time in late May and early June, Walker said that seven car batteries were stolen. Out of fear that someone may break the windows or damage cars trying to break into them, he decided to keep cars unlocked and upgraded his security cameras.

“I mean, he just, just ransacked,” Walker said while going over the footage with 8News, “the cars coming by, they’re just casual.”

On July 17 at 2 a.m., two people rolled up in a dark-colored sedan. They are seen in security footage checking door handles on cars. Walker said that a radio and an amplifier were stolen from a truck. Within seven minutes, Walker said that seven to eight cars were entered.

Less than half a mile away on South Crater Road, one employee at Loyalty Used Car Super Center said several cars were broken into that same night. Another employee told 8News that the car’s windows were broken.

Walker said he filed a police report. Petersburg police did not respond to 8News’ request for comment.

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