Thief blows his cover during Poway burglary

Posted at 6:32 PM, Dec 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-20 21:32:22-05

POWAY, Calif. - A Poway store could be one victim of a multi-state crime ring, but thieves made a mistake during the local burglary that blew their cover.

"I was really angry," said Marty McClung, owner of Western Mower and Engine Shop. "Now, I guess I feel sorry for them. This is your living. You [have to] steal from people."

McClung feels violated after thieves were captured on camera ripping off his business the day after Thanksgiving.

"We work really hard for what we do," McClung said.

The burglars spent an hour behind the store moving heavy lawn equipment and making their path for a quick getaway. They cut the lock to the building and helped themselves.

"This is the door they opened, the equipment was back here when they grabbed it," said McClung.

In 90 seconds, the thieves grabbed 15 chainsaws and hedge trimmers valued at $5,000.

However, on the way out, one of the crooks dropped a cellphone.

"We were looking around and we're like, 'OK, whose phone is this?'" said McClung.

Deputies traced the phone to a man in Riverside County and arrested two people. Deputies say they are heading back to Riverside Wednesday to hopefully make a third arrest.

Detectives say the thieves could be connected to part of a bigger crime spree that has victimized business owners as far away as Nevada.

"Hopefully this is going to slow them down, if not stop them," said McClung.

In the last seven years, McClung was burglarized three times. He is spending $7,000 on new security improvements.