Vandals strike car wash
The week had kicked off without incident for Mary Scott, service business manager for the Exchange at Fort Gordon, until she received a phone call from a customer asking who was going to pay for the damage done to her car while using the Exchange car wash.
Scott was perplexed as the Exchange car wash had been renovated two months ago.
“Monday (Jan. 13) morning a customer had called my associate and told her there was a problem at the car wash with the (washing) wand. That the pressure was so strong it actually got out of her hand and put a scratch on her car,” explained Scott. “She wanted to know who was going to pay for that scratch.”
Once the customer was advised to go to the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate to file a claim for the damage incurred to her car she asked if anyone was going to go to the car wash to sort out the issue with the faulty washer wand.
Shortly after receiving the customer’s call that something was amiss, Scott set off to investigate.
“I noticed three of the car wash bays were not as they should have been,” she said. “Two of the washer wands were on the ground and one of the wands in bay number two was missing a part.”
Seeing that several of the washing bays were not in working order Scott decided to further explore the area around the car wash. What she found was unsettling, as the facility had been upgraded and it was apparent that over the weekend something had happened. That something was vandalism.
“I noticed in the automatic drive-thru (car wash) someone did not let the cycle complete – stopping the car wash at the end – so it automatically shut down,” she said.
As a result, the automatic drive-thru car wash was locked – as a safety precaution if the system is interrupted or not allowed to cycle completely it will lock up – but that wasn’t all. Upon further inspection she noticed there was an abundance of trash around the facility and additional damage.
“The two things I noticed were the vacuum nozzles had been removed from their hoses and the last trash can nearest the street was full of beer cans,” said Scott. “Inspecting the entire area I found a lot of travel size liquor bottles.”
Scott said that each Monday the car wash is cleaned and that what she found this particular Monday was unusual. The large amount of beer and liquor bottles in the trash cans and around the facility was not what she expected to find.
Camera in tow, she decided to photograph the damage and the abundance of trash.
“Once I had cleaned up the mess I told my boss – Stefan Marks (general manager for the Exchange) – and he said please send the pictures to him because he was going to notify the garrison commander to let him know what happened.”
Once Marks notified the garrison commander, Col. Samuel G. Anderson, the Exchange car wash was thrown into the limelight.
Though no one has come forward to claim responsibility the garrison commander stressed that this type of behavior is considered unacceptable and will not be tolerated. He further stated that the command has not turned a blind eye to the destruction of installation property and wants to know who was responsible.
“This hurts the installation,” said Scott. “The money for the car wash renovation came from FMWR funds.”
The car wash is now working and repairs for the damage were minimal as the renovated equipment was under warranty. However, as Scott stated, that is money for the community, and had the warranty been expired the cost for repairs would have come from FMWR funds.
When asked if things were back to normal Scott replied, “Everything is up and running at the Exchange car wash.”