Escondido police are investigating the theft of thousands of dollars worth of tools from small businesses.
Escondido Police Department Lt. Ed Varso said police are investigating two cases: one on Nov. 1 at One Stop Mower, a small engine repair service on S. Escondido Boulevard, and the second this past Monday at Circle R Equipment Rentals on Metcalf Street. The businesses are located about two miles apart.
Varso said both cases involved three masked suspects and some similarities, although police have not yet determined if they are related.
Surveillance video captured the suspects breaking into One Stop Mower, ransacking and stealing lawn equipment.
Owner Max Carapia told NBC 7, he believes the suspects looked similar to the ones captured breaking into Circle R Equipment Rentals.
In that burglary, the suspects stole approximately $9,000 worth of equipment and tools, the business owner told NBC 7. The tools, which the business rents out, included jackhammers and chainsaws.
"It’s awful because here we are in this great community of Escondido, a small town, everyone is wonderful in the community. And to have this happen, to come in and disrupt operation is not good," said the equipment rental store owner, who did not want to be identified.
In the One Stop Mower burglary, thieves stole weed trimmers, hand blowers and other lightweight tools valued at around $3,500. Carapia said the suspects were in and out of his business in just three minutes.
Surveillance video showed the suspects stealing an armful of equipment. The higher-end, high-priced mowers were ignored, Carapia said.
"When they came in they knew what they were doing," he told NBC 7. "They had studied the place and location because as soon as they came in, they went straight for the wall."
Varso said investigators are sifting through surveillance videos to gather more information on the burglaries and suspects.
Carapia said he is concerned about more than just the theft's impact on his bottom line.
"It hurts us because we don’t want to lose confidence with the clients," he said.
Right now, there is not a detailed description of the suspects outside of the surveillance video.
No one was hurt in either case.