Somewhere in Oregon is a would-be burglar who crawled out of a tire dealership empty-handed-not to mention dirty handed.
In what could be filed under ``dumb crook'' news, a burglar dug a short tunnel under the wall of a Coquille tire dealership's storage room Dec. 4 only to find a few truck tires inside that were way too large to fit through the 2-ft. diameter hole.
Investigators are still scratching their heads. ``It was such an oddity,'' said Sgt. Patrick Smith of the Coquille Police Department, which is processing evidence from the aborted burglary at Steele's Universal Tire & Wheel Inc., as well as from what they believe is a related burglary of a restaurant a block away.
The police aren't sure which burglary occurred first but they were called to Steele's after employees arrived for work on Dec. 4 to find the hole under the wall of the storage room. The room is connected to the tire business but only accessible through an exterior door. It has a concrete floor except for a 3-foot area in the back corner where a septic tank used to be, according to owner Gary Steele. When the septic tank was removed, the area was filled with dirt and gravel.
Apparently the burglar, after failing to break in through a door, discovered the dirt-filled section and began digging with his hands, according to Mr. Steele. After burrowing a tunnel about 2 feet wide and about 3 feet long, the burglar crawled through in apparent hopes of finding money, but only found truck tires used in the retail/commercial tire business.
The police have a suspect but are awaiting a report from the state crime lab on evidence collected from both crime scenes. About $63 was taken from the restaurant after the burglar broke in through a window and ransacked the business.
As for the small ``hole'' in Steele's security system? ``We just filled it back up. It's been that way for 20 years. We figure they won't try that again,'' Mr. Steele said.