Newly-open Columbus car dealer falls victim to smash-and-grab

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COLUMBUS, Ind.  -- Police say a car dealer in Columbus fell victim to a smash-and-grab this week.

The thieves broke into the small business early Thursday morning, stealing one car and the keys to several others.

“This part of the glass all fell on top of me,” said business owner Riley Quillen.

After a passerby noticed the broken glass door and called police, Quillen showed up to his business and found the front door shattered after a thief threw a rock through the glass and swiped the keys to every car on his lot.

“You know, it’s the last thing you expect to drive up in morning with the window busted out and no keys to any of your vehicles,” said Quillen.

Riley believes the crook tried stealing a BMW from in front of the business, but apparently became confused and left it behind.

"Everybody I go on a test drive with, I have to show people how to start the car. I guess when you’re in a hurry,  you just want to get away,” said Quillen.

Instead the suspect stole a convertible Pontiac, which was recovered hours later 20 minutes outside of Columbus.

Riley just opened the small business two months ago and can’t believe he already fell victim to a break-in.

“You know I’ve only been in business 58 days.  This is my first business. People drive by and think you’ve got more than you really have,” said Quillen.

For their part, Columbus police don’t know if the smash-and-grab is an isolated case or if its connected to other recent crimes.

Aside from the stolen keys and broken glass, no other damage was done to the business so the thief was likely in and out in just seconds.

As a new business owner, Riley says he was still working to get security cameras installed in the next few weeks.  Upgrading that security is now his top priority.

“I thought when he told me it would take 7 to 10 days to get the cameras, I’ve already gone a month without them so another week or so isn’t going to be a big deal.  I was wrong,” said Quillen.

Anyone with information on the thefts is asked to contact the Columbus Police Department at 812-376-2600.

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