WOWT 6 News

With so many people and vehicles coming through car washes across the county on a daily basis, many business can become hot spots for crimes of opportunity. In the past we’ve written about everything from thieves breaking into change machines to car thefts and murders. We hope that by highlighting the types of crimes most common at car washes that owners are able to take steps in preventing them.

Our first story comes from Staten Island, New York where a man was arrested for arson at a car wash. reports that a 54-year-old man who worked at the car wash set fire to it early one morning. The building was heavily damaged but the man was soon arrested by law enforcement.

A man in Omaha, Nebraska was robbed at gunpoint by three men who held him up at a car wash. The man was drying his vehicle at the time. WOWT reports that the three men made off with cash and jewelry. Law enforcement are still searching for them.
And in Johannesberg, South Africa, authorities were able to capture criminals who stole a Mercedes Benz and later took it for a wash. Officers found the stolen vehicles at a car wash and reports they conducted a four-hour stakeout until the men came for the vehicle. They later told police they had stolen five vehicles in total.

To prevent crime at your car wash, consider the following:

  • Establish a partnership with your local law enforcement agency to ask for overnight patrols if you’re a 24/7 operation
  • Install video surveillance to deter would-be criminals
  • Make the switch from coin-operated machines to ones that also accept credit cards so that less money is on hand for a criminal to take
  • Install motion-activated flood lights to keep employees and customers safe after dark
  • Interact with your customers to create bonds with individuals and create a safe community where customers and employees look out for one another