Hamilton car wash vandalized, owners repairing
HAMILTON, Mont. - The owners of a Hamilton car wash are working to get the business back up and running after it was vandalized over the holidays.
Quick Wash is Hamilton's only self-serve car wash. It was burglarized and vandalized sometime in the dark hours of Dec. 26.
On Friday, T.J. Brough showed NBC Montana just how extensive the damage was.
He ducked under a band of yellow tape that barricades the car wash bays, vacuums and numerous vending machines at the Quick Wash on Hamilton's south side.
Brough and his family are prominent Hamilton business people who own both the car wash and Lube Quick on the north side of town.
Brough manages both the car wash and Lube Quick.
Whoever burglarized the car wash of cash left that facility inoperable until major repairs can be made.
"They cleaned us out pretty well," said Brough, "and then damaged just as much, if not more than what they took."
Brough has had to replace 40 locks after somebody jimmied a number of the machines.
The entire family has been working for weeks on repairs.
They are insured. But at this point the biggest obstacle is replacing the boiler that provides the hot water for all four car wash bays.
Whoever burglarized the business left open the doors that house the boiler and the pumps beside it. It was freezing cold and the boiler froze up.
"It looks like there was quite a bit of damage to the pumps themselves," said Brough. "They operate the self-serve bays. We don't know the extent of the damage to them yet because we can't run them without the boiler."
Once he gets the boiler replaced then he'll know more.
Brough said Quick Wash serves between 30 and 40 customers a day. It's heavily used in the winter as well as warmer months because people find it convenient to wash away the ice, snow and grit from winter driving.
He said he is sorry for the customers who depend on his car wash.
"We are working as hard as we can to get this place back open," he said.
Hamilton police tell us they are continuing to investigate the holiday burglary, following up with leads and processing evidence.