CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - A Chattanooga businessman was shocked to find vandals destroyed his self-service car wash and took off. Now he's left with tens of thousands of dollars in damages. It's a big price tag for a small business.
Max Falk owns a handful of car washes throughout Hamilton County. This isn't the first time he's been victim to thieves and vandals, but this latest hit is by far the most costly. His Dodson Avenue location is partly destroyed. A wall was knocked down and the roof is collapsing.
"You've got to picture, this wall was standing up," car wash owner Max Falk stood atop the knocked over wall.
Max Falk was devastated to see half of his car wash laying in a pile and the roof falling in.
"I about cried. My guess is probably $17,000 to $20,000 in there somewhere," Falk said.
It's a huge cost for a man who makes his living in quarters.
"That hurts a lot," Falk said.
Police spotted points of impact on the brick wall surrounded by chrome or silver paint. They think a truck or SUV drove straight into it, knocked it over and took off.
"My hope is that somebody realizes or sees the vehicle with some damage and thinks about maybe having it checked out by police. I think they were either drunk or maybe on something," Falk said.
But, he doesn't think it was an accident because whoever it was, also tried breaking into his change machine. He says thieves have tried this move several times in the past, but walked away empty handed.
"What the amateur crook doesn't understand is these things are super secure," Falk said.
He's also struggled with criminals stealing his metal grates to sell at scrap yards. Channel 3 covered the first string of thefts in 2008 and then again at another location last fall.
"Definitely have some bad mornings where I think 'Is this worth it,'" Falk said.
But this time, he says it's even more discouraging-- not understanding why someone would go this far without a payoff.
"I just hope you get caught. I hope somebody turns you in," Falk said.
Falk does have insurance but says he's been unable to contact the company over the weekend. If you have any info on who could be responsible for this hit and run, call the Chattanooga Police Department.