ASHLAND — Burglars behind two break-ins Tuesday morning used a stolen BMW to ram down the doors of two Ashland businesses, where they took cash registers and computers once inside, owners said.
"It's unbelievable," said Jesús Núñez, owner of El Paraiso Restaurant, pointing to where the broken car was abandoned after smashing through his back door.
Núñez lost a checkbook, cash register with more than $700 inside and a computer, he said. Whoever stole the checkbook already has started cashing checks, he said.
Valley Equipment Rental owner Myles Comstock lost about $100 and the register off his front counter, he said.
"It was just end-of-the-day money," Comstock said. "They did a good job smashing up the door, caused over $1,000 in damage there."
The BMW tore the hinges off the metal double-door, he said.
"They were in and out fast," he said. "It was a cash grab."
Both businesses have insurance that will cover most of the losses and provided Ashland police with surveillance footage of the break-ins, the owners said.
The burglars hit Valley Equipment Rental, 2915 Highway 66, at about 5:30 a.m., then moved on to El Paraiso Restaurant, 545 Clover Lane, police said.
Police impounded the BMW left at the restaurant and said it was stolen from the Ashland area.
No descriptions of the burglars have been released, and police will not yet say how many people were involved.
"It seemed pretty planned out," Comstock said. "There were a few of them "… probably two cars."
The investigation is ongoing, said Ashland police Detective Sgt. Tighe O'Meara.
Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to contact Ashland police at 541-482-5211 or the anonymous tip line at 541-552-2333. Tips also can be left at the Ashland police website, http://www.ashland.or.us/SectionIndex.asp?SectionID=427.
Reach Ashland Daily Tidings reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.