The owner of B-W Services in Washington is offering a $5,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of anyone associated with a break-in at the business Monday — and he says if break-ins continue, he may not open business here.

Production Manager Richard Chestnut said he came in to the office at the former Rescar facility on the city’s West End around 7:30 Monday morning to find someone had broken in through a window and stolen more than $5,000 worth of computers and equipment. He had last been at the office early Saturday afternoon and locked the door behind him.

“Mr. White is very concerned. ... He’s serious about this,” said Chestnut.

The thieves took three new computers, two of which were still in boxes and hidden, a laptop, eight handheld radios, two rechargeable flashlights without the chargers and a box of unknown contents that had just arrived from Louisiana. They also ransacked the office and pulled out the desk drawers.

The computers did not have valuable information such as financial records on them, said business owner, Billy White.

Police Chief Mike Healy said there were no footprints in the mud and no mud tracked into the building, so he thinks the break-ins occurred before the weekend’s rainfall. Officers were also unable to lift fingerprints, and they have no suspects.

Chestnut has already talked to neighbors, who saw nothing suspicious last weekend, and has started calling pawn shops trying to recover what was stolen. Plans are in place to increase security at the facility.

B-W Services was also broken into on the weekend of Oct. 28-29 last year, according to Chestnut. That time, someone got into the break room and took a television used for employee training.

About the time White purchased the property in July last year, someone broke in at least once and stripped out copper wire. White has replaced more than $10,000 in wiring, said Chestnut.

The suspect in the wire theft has already been caught, said Healy.

The Louisiana-based company has two other sites in Westlake, La., and Angleton, Texas, and neither of these have had the problems with theft that the Washington facility has seen, said Chestnut. So if he continues to have this much trouble before he can even open the business, White said he may delay or cancel the opening the industry.

“We can’t seem to keep anything out there without someone stealing it,” said White. “I like Washington. It’s a nice town with nice people, but it also seems to have an element the authorities can’t seem to catch. I’m not blaming anyone, but there does seem to be a problem. ... More important, I want these people to realize if they do steal, we’re not going to sit idly back.”

Healy said police officers patrol the area as much as possible but cannot go on the property because it is fenced and the gates locked. Police officers will keep a closer eye on the place since they know there have been problems, said Mayor Dave Abel.

“We’re going to do all we can for them,” Healy said.

Signs on the property offering a $5,000 reward for arrest and conviction of thieves were put up when the property was first purchased, said Chestnut.

Over the last six months, White has been investing thousands of dollars to upgrade the run-down facility. Each break-in slows down progress, he said. He plans to eventually hire about 30 employees to repair train cars.

These will be high-paying skilled jobs, said Mayor Dave Abel, and B-W Services will be a real asset to the community. White has been in the transportation business for years and will be able to help bring other businesses and jobs here if he chooses to stay.

“For people to jeopardize that for their own selfish reasons is beyond criminal,” Abel said. “The community needs to stand up and say we’re not going to stand for it.”

Abel encourages people in the neighborhood around B-W Services to keep an eye out and call police if they see anything suspicious. If they want to remain anonymous, they can call the crime line at 254-5970.

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