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Laundry room thefts increasing in San Luis Obispo, thieves stealing quarters, police say

Posted at 6:46 PM, Nov 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-22 22:03:19-05

Reports of thefts from San Luis Obispo laundry rooms are rapidly increasing, but thieves aren't stealing bills or clothes; they're stealing loads of quarters.

The San Luis Obispo Police Department released a report that nearly 15 shared residential laundry rooms have been broken into in the evening or early morning hours in November alone.

Officers say a lot of the locations sit along the train tracks.

Property managers in the area have been busy repairing and replacing washing machines after thieves broke the coin slots last week.

"Generally in these coin machines, it's quarters so that adds up pretty quickly," said Lieutenant Fred Mickel with the San Luis Obispo Police Department. "They are not getting away with thousands and thousands on one take, but they can get upwards of a couple hundred dollars at times."

However, it's costing landlords more than what the thieves probably walked away with.

Derek Banducci, manages three properties that had laundry rooms recently broken into. At one property, he ditched the quarters and instead installed coin-less machines.

"You can do it from your phone for some of the solutions where you have an account kind of like a PayPal account where your phone communicates with the machine to see if you have enough funds," said Derek Banduccci, president of California West.

Police said there was no forced entry with a lot of these thefts, so they are advising people to close and lock doors behind them.

In one report, a person did steal clothes from a Mustang Village apartment laundry room, but police believe it was an isolated event.

Officials are also asking landlords to buy floodlights and surveillance cameras to help catch the person or people responsible. They say registering with a police department's surveillance video program can help them solve more crimes.