A used car lot and repairs shop in Hermiston is out an estimated $6,000 after a burglar stole spare keys and stereos from numerous unlocked vehicles sometime Tuesday night.

Carrillo’s Used Cars, 30685 Sturgis St., reported Wednesday that someone broke in by climbing over the lot’s chain-link fence and rifled through more than 20 vehicles, stealing 19 sets of spare keys and about 10 stereos.

Owner Arturo Carrillo said some of the thefts came out of cars for sale on site, and others from vehicles dropped off for repairs. The Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.

Carrillo does not have any suspects, he said.

“We don’t understand. We haven’t had any problems with people,” Carrillo said. “We don’t know what to think.”

The burglary happened sometime between 8:40 p.m. Tuesday and 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, Carrillo said. Neither he nor his cousin, business co-owner Fernando Jaimes, noticed anything missing until they went to start a 1997 Ford F-150 truck they own and were fixing outside the garage.

The key and stereo were both missing, Carrillo said. That’s when they began checking every vehicle on site.

No cars were physically damaged or stolen off the property.

“We’ll be happy when we know who did this, and why,”?Carrillo said.

While searching the lot, Carrillo and Jaimes did notice a set of footprints in the dirt immediately outside the fence. A surveillance tape from cameras at the neighboring A&M Supply also showed a red car driving slowly around the area sometime between 2-3 a.m.

Troy Werner, of A&M Supply, said he will check over the tape with Carrillo to see if they can identify any suspect on film.

Burglars have targeted A&M Supply several times in the past, Werner said. The neighborhood, located just outside city limits, does not have street lights which gives criminals the darkness at night.

“We use a neighborhood watch to help with the problem,”?Werner said. “It’s a community issue. It takes community involvement.”

Carrillo’s Used Cars does have a security alarm, but only for the shop building. They also have a camera system, Carrillo said, though it was not working the night of the burglary.

The cameras are since fixed, he added, and they will take extra care locking all vehicle doors to help prevent any future thefts.

Carrillo said he has requested extra police patrols at night, and will consider installing additional lights.

“Sooner or later, the law is going to get them,”?he said. “Doing this, it doesn’t get any good results for them.”


Contact George Plaven at gplaven@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4547.

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