LAS VEGAS (KLAS)— The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police department reported nearly 10,000 vehicle thefts in its jurisdiction this year. But, what happens when that vehicle is actually a business?
That’s the reality an east-valley business owner faced just days before the Christmas Holiday.
Berry Cotner recently began JB Service six months ago, a mobile auto mechanic business that serves several commercial businesses across the valley. He said without his truck, “I have no job.”
When he opened his front door Thursday morning, his truck, and the estimated $20,000 worth of tools and equipment inside of it, were missing.
“I called my wife and I was like, ‘please say you’re playing a joke on me,’” Cotner said outside his home Friday morning, recounting the chaotic morning that he realized his mobile business was missing.
The truck was parked in the same position in front of his home daily, he said, with a doorbell camera pointed in its direction. But, when he reviewed the footage from the suspected night of the theft, the theft itself was not captured.
Instead, it’s seen parked at 4:20 a.m., then gone at 4:30 a.m. He said his doorbell camera is not designed to detect motion beyond thirty feet, where the car was parked.
“There’s no bits of plastic or anything where they would have broken into the door,” Cotner said while examining the empty parking spot. “So, whoever did it, they knew what they were doing.”
The mobile business also has sentimental value. The truck was passed down from his father who did the same work for 25 years, he said. Cotner outfitted it with shelving and spaces for his equipment when he took over ownership.
Now, the lone-small business owner is fearing if it will ever be found, and if not, how he will financially support his family.
“I’m a one-man show,” Cotner said. “I have no backup. It’s just me taking care of my family, and without my truck, I can’t make any money. I can’t pay my bills.”
“That’s why I was really hoping I’d hear back yesterday or today, because I think the farther it carries on into the holidays, the less I think [there’s] likelihood anybody’s going to be looking.”
When asked what he would say to the culprit or culprits responsible, he said “just dump it somewhere, bring it back. Whatever you’ve stolen already, I’ll forgive. I just need my truck to pay my bills.”
Those who see the truck can call Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, or can remain anonymous by calling Crime Stopper at (702) 385-5555.