Three years after an attempted break-in at Fas Gas, the service station’s upgraded door kept out another would-be burglar.
Police are now on the lookout for a man who tried repeatedly to break into the Richmond Avenue gas station early Wednesday morning, wrecking light fixtures and the air conditioning in the process.
Fozia Firdaus, who co-owns the Fas Gas station with her husband Munawar, said that a thick thermoplastic door completely frustrated the thief’s attempts to kick it in. On surveillance video she shared with the Brandon Sun, the man can be seen repeatedly bouncing off the door, with his best-effort kicks leaving just a scuff mark the next morning.
The door was installed after another break-in attempt during the summer of 2011, when another thief smashed the existing door. Those are the only two break-in attempts at the Fas Gas since the couple took it over in 2010.
“Usually it doesn’t happen,” Firdaus said.
Despite failing to get inside, yesterday morning’s culprit did manage to do a significant amount of damage to light fixtures installed on the soffit above the door. He pulled them down in an attempt to break through the walls and climb inside over the top of the door frame, but was unsuccessful.
At some point, he apparently also clambered up on the roof. Although video cameras didn’t catch him up there, the man pried open at least two panels on the large rooftop air conditioning unit and badly damaged the grill and the vent in an attempt to also pry those open. Although he never managed to get through the ceiling, he left behind a complete mess, with plenty of ripped-out wiring and bent metal.
Air conditioning is particularly important to the small Fas Gas location, inside of which drink coolers are continually pumping out a lot of heat. Even during this year’s cold, lengthy spring, they’ve been relying on air conditioning for weeks already. Workers late yesterday morning were already preparing to replace the old unit.
Although a full damage estimate wasn’t available yesterday, Firdaus says that insurance should cover most of what will be some thousands of dollars in repairs.
She said that an audible alarm never sounded during the break-in attempt, likely because no one made it inside. However, the station’s security service alerted them to it at about 4 a.m., when police were notified as well.
Unfortunately, the suspect had fled just a few minutes before anyone arrived. He’s clearly shown on the surveillance video wearing a white jacket and light-coloured jeans, with some kind of black fabric draped over his head and face.
Police say they’re continuing their investigation.