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Rant Who robs a sign shop?


Premium Subscriber
The alarm company called at 10:30pm. 2 motion alarms had been set off. A quick check of my cameras showed no movement but I knew they had been there from the papers all over the floor of my front office.

I went to the office to survey damage. This time they came in through a large exhaust fan in my warehouse. The louvres on the outside were destroyed when they pried them off the building. These guys had to be fairly small and wiry to squeeze through the fan blades.

This is my third break-in in 3 years. They always do more damage to the shop than they get in value. The break in last night netted them about $50 from petty cash. The damage to my shop ventilation fan - probably about $500.

I have them on camera, but that hasn’t helped the police in the past. I didn’t even bother calling them. Last time I had to sit in my parking lot for several hours waiting for them to show and search the building. I’ll file a report on Monday so it’s on record.

Monday we’ll clean up the mess and find out if my employees lost anything out of their desks. The financial loss is not that big, so why does the feeling of being violated seem so overwhelming? Being angry or bitter won’t change anything, I just hope to sleep soundly again in the near future.


Premium Subscriber
Back in the early 90s, someone broke a little window, that only a little kid could fit through and he unlocked the doors. This was prior to our having any alarm system. They stole everything that want nailed down, from microwaves, computers, every tool in the place and left the place a total mess. They even took all my telephones, so I hadda go next door to call the Police. Police didn't catch them, either. About 6 months went by and I got a phone call from some guy who wanted to know how to operate my computer. I asked him some questions and said, I can stop by and give him a quick tutorial. I got there and took all my files out (these were the days of 5.25 floppies and no CD drives. So, this process took a whole afternoon. When I was done, I told him, the Police and State Police will be here, as this is my computer and it was stolen 6 months ago. They showed up, confiscated all of the stuff and the guy was out what he paid for it, buto jail tI'm for busing stole goods. Turned out the crooks fenced this stuff, it was then sold at an auction and this guy bought it. They crooks were found and went to jail, but my computer was still at the Police station. Hadda stay there for 1 year. The day after 1 year, I asked to have it and the insurance company said, they now own it. For capturing the crooks, I was to receive a reward which came to around $6,800 I think. I told the insurance company, instead of you having a worthless consumer that you won't get mote than $500 for, I'll forego the reward for getting my computer back. Settled. I had originally paid about $38,000 for that system cause back in those days a screaming 10 mgh - 20 meg hard drive was terribly expensive.


Very Active Signmaker
That's frustrating to hear. I worked at a computer shop that had been broken into several times. We had a security system, had bars on the windows, but they could easily get in by breaking the window and using their hand to turn the lock open from the inside. Damn fire code prevented us from using a double key lock which would prevent that. Nothing we could do unless we wanted to board up the window and door. Shop was in a real rough part of town, prostitute ally... Had bullet holes in our storefront glass. Was interesting working there though... I always carried a piece with me in the shop.

Hero Signs

If they let me make it, they will come
4 years ago I fired 3 employees in a 2 weeks peroid, Over the weekend my back window was broken, had bugler bars, but then the garage door was pryed open and only $460 in cash was taken, no tools etc. I did not have cameras at that time. Now I have multiple camerad inside and out.


Active Member
We have a 40ft flat deck we got customized to hold assembled extruded signs for the highways. We used to keep it in our locked yard...

One day we noticed wires hanging out. Someone ripped all the copper wiring out of it... No wiring to the breaks or lights. Probably a $20 spool of wiring new. Can't imagine they got more than $1 for it.

We had to get it professionally replaced... Cost about 1.4K. Now we have a big 40ft flat deck sitting in our warehouse when it's not.in use!

We've also had a few people.sift through garbage making a mess... We used to store barrels of chemicals outside, until we saw someone drag them to the fence and try to cut it and pull them through.

Our most recent attempt was a month ago. Someone climbed 20ft up a ladder and somehow overeloaded an outside light... In hopes it'd kill power to our alarm. It knocked out all the lights in our building..got a call at 2 am saying all the sensors are tripping, they got a no power alert and ca t access to cameras. I figured it was just a power outage so I said not to call the cops. I live 10 mins away so I'll go check it out... I get there and see a jeep in our parking lot. As I pull up he burns out and takes off. Spent an hour eating around the building looking to see.if they got in... Waited for.the cops to show up. Show them the dashcam with license plates... But they cant do nothing since it's no proof they did it.

They were in a rush to leave and didn't pack up their ladder... So we got a free ladder as a consolation prize at least. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

We added cameras outside just to record what happens outside. In the past month we've seen dozens of cars park in our lot... Some doing drugs, some partying.. Some just sleeping.

The amount of time and effort these people put into stealing petty shit like copper wiring off a flat deck is insane.. I guess druggys can't hold a regular job and it's their only way.

At least most of.the people who break in only grab a $200 reception Computer or a monitor. They don't realize that the 10 rolls of 48" diamond grade are worth $2000 each!


New Member
T Was interesting working there though... I always carried a piece with me in the shop.
Hey Texes, you have a good and funny personality.
What was your preference for your piece?

A funny story my brother and friend was hanging around talking it up. And this guy comes out of nowhere
showing off his gun. Well I got very nervous but the only thing that kept me calm was I new my friend always carried his piece. And was very well trained with it. Thanks to the United States Navy.
Nothing happen and he went on his way and my brother said the same thing. Thank God you carry your piece all the time.


Very Active Signmaker
Rugar 9mm. Thinking of switching to a 22 because some friends of mine that were in the service said that temporarily loosing your hearing can put you at a disadvantage. Even a B.B. gun will cause someone to retreat. They were also the ones that taught me to practice shooting with both eyes open.. Dont want to reduce your vision by 50% in a fight. I go to the range and practice regularly.

Only time I've pulled it was on a dog that came on my property that looked sketchy.. Luckily it stopped right before it got too close.


Back when the gas prices were high, we 3 gas tanks drilled in our parking lot in 1 night. 2 were ours and 1 was a customers. And we went through a spell of finding condoms in the parking lot after weekends. But sometimes lettering your local police dept. can help. 1 policeman that we worked with started parking in our lot to do his paper work (on night shift) and we have not seen any condoms since.


New Member
Who breaks in for $50? Bet you it's one of the growing number of addicts. The demand and supply of which are both problems nationally, regardless of what the spin doctors claim.

Stacey K

I like making signs
The shop I bought was a gun shop prior to me owning it. There's cameras inside and out and he always had a loaded shotgun behind the counter. There's a house attached and when I went through it he had another loaded shot gun next to his security camera tv's and a pair of boots, one boot on each side of the shot gun lol - he was just WAITING for someone to break in (it had been broken into once or twice). I'm hoping people assume I'm the same way. He also put 2x6's across the tops of the back doors so they couldn't kick them in. I have a fake cardboard box around my safe...although most people use debit/credit so it's often empty anyways lol


New Member
we've been fortunate to have had zero break-ins in our 70yrs.... however, we've had at least a dozen instances of guys driving-into our yard to try and steal from our scrap pile of steel tube. luckily, the police LOVE using our industrial park for their breaks and every single one of them has been caught red-handed.

SameDay Signs

New Member
I guess I have it pretty good after reading some of these....A few years back a neighboring worker at a business was inquiring about a wrapped fridge i had in my office and asked if i'd sell it which i said sure. He said he would get it on his next check, well i came in the day he was to get his check to see my door was unlocked and my fridge was gone...Apparantly he went through the basement which was the entire building pried my door open and then took out the fridge the night before came in the next day to get his check early and took off out of state....I was pissed until i recently found out he overdosed and died at only 27....I guess after speaking to a couple people he has a pretty bad heroin additction and well i guess it is just a fridge...But long story short who the hell steals a fridge and how does noone see this?


New Member
We got hit in the mid 2000's. They broke into a vacuum place a few blocks away and stole one of the massive, 1950's style pink vacuums, which they they hurled thru our front windows. Took the petty cash, a PC, and some unfortunate personal items one guy foolishly left in his desk. Our shop is right in the middle of downtown, and the glass was > 4'x4' i have no idea how no one heard the crash. Disappointed we didn't get to keep the vacuum though.


Active Member
The inconvenience is the worst part and then you get that really strange feeling from your personal space being violated, almost like it's not yours anymore.
I've never had my business broke into but in the short 8 months I lived in Orlando it was my car, then the apartment and then my car was stolen altogether. Had my truck broke into twice and ripped the nav unit out of the dash plus xmas presents... Orlando again. Oh and on a job recently in Kissimmee had a tool box in my flatbed that they wiped out but left the box. The place is full of thieves, the good ones too, not just the lowlife junkies.

d fleming

New Member
Been broken into once. About 500 in damage for about 50 in petty cash. Cops had film of guy who did it and his fingerprints on a check he got from a desk at office that he had forged and was trying to cash as a paycheck at grocery store. They called me to verify employment. Cops still didn't catch him and managed to even lose the tape of the guy from grocery store and the check. Nowadays I have the shop alarm routed to my cell phone. I can be there in under 5 minutes armed.


Very Active Signmaker
Been broken into once. About 500 in damage for about 50 in petty cash. Cops had film of guy who did it and his fingerprints on a check he got from a desk at office that he had forged and was trying to cash as a paycheck at grocery store. They called me to verify employment. Cops still didn't catch him and managed to even lose the tape of the guy from grocery store and the check. Nowadays I have the shop alarm routed to my cell phone. I can be there in under 5 minutes armed.

Ugh, all too often the police have no interest in following up with this crap.

Years ago, someone stole a laptop from my shop. I didn't know they lifted it because as soon as they left my store they tried to fence it at my competitors store. They called me while the guy was there because it STILL had my price tag and advertising on it.

I ran out of the shop and sped down to their store to catch the guy. He was outside and saw me speeding down the road and he jumped into his car and took off as I was pulling up. I got the plate number and was on the phone with the cops....they showed up 45 minutes later despite being 1/4 mile from the county courthouse and their police headquarters. Numerous police cars would casually drive by until one finally stopped. Never caught the guy despite having video of him, license plate and all that info.