Car Wash Crime Spree: Ezee Clean Recovers

Car Wash Collision

You know it’s going to be a long day when you get a call from the alarm company at 7am on a Sunday. And Scott Murray, owner of Ezee Clean Car Wash in Stoney Creek Ontario, knew it too. But at the time, he didn’t realize just how complicated his year would become. He fell victim to a car wash crime spree on that cold Canadian morning.

A Long, Daunting Day

The details of February 5th, 2023 are seared on Scott’s memory. The alarm company notified him that there was a glass break alert in the lobby of his self-service building. While he was on the phone, motion in the lobby was detected. He requested that police be sent to the location immediately. A few minutes later, Scott’s friend and retired police officer called. He said that there was a Truck INSIDE his lobby and told him to get there ASAP. Scott was already on his way, high speed. “I drove like a maniac, I had no idea what I was going to see when I got there.”

En route, he got a call from the Hamilton police notifying him that the property was secure, and they asked him what kind of vehicle he was driving. This struck him as odd, until he rolled into the location. The scene was chaos. The road was blocked off. Nine cop cars, two fire trucks, and ambulance services, attended to an injured person in the street. A large utility truck protruded from his lobby with debris and the surrounding bays collapsing around it.

Authorities met Scott, who of course was visibly rattled at the sight of his business. They had to confirm that there was no one inside, and fortunately this series of events happened an hour before his first employee would arrive. It was a true blessing that none of his team were inside the wash in those morning hours to be hurt or killed as the drama unfolded.

Next, Scott condemnation officials from the city approached Scott. They came to survey the situation and determine the degree of safety of the structures. Authorities then requested his cameras and footage, but with his automatic tunnel unscathed and cash still on premises, Scott was hesitant to give up his system. They decided to carefully venture into his offices instead, and they watched the details of the morning unfold on the monitors in what remained intact of the facility.

Car Wash Crime Spree Caught On Tape

Crime Spree

The calamity of that day had further reach than beyond the grounds of Ezee Clean. In all, 4 individuals and 5 vehicles were involved in the mayhem. It started at an electrician shop 30 minutes away, where the men stole several vehicles, set one on fire, and burned the business down. The footage at Ezee Clean showed the men stage the vehicles at the various bank branches that neighbor the wash, as look-outs and getaways. One of the men visibly instructed the man in the stolen utility truck to drive through the glass of the car wash lobby, and when the first impact wasn’t good enough, he backed out and accelerated full speed into the lobby again, bending the supporting I-beam like putty and imploding the top of the cinder block columns.

The footage shows what happened to the pedestrian that was loaded into the ambulance. It was not one of the accused perpetrators, but instead a man walking by who was witnessing the destruction and started recording with his phone. Unfortunately, the lookout vehicle saw the man recording.   Another vehicle purposefully chased and ran the man down with a pickup truck, not once, but twice. The witness suffered major injuries, but did survive the attack.

With the unforeseen interruption, the men were unable to complete the robbery attempts successfully. The Jeep fled immediately. Meanwhile, the gang retrieved the fourth driver from the utility truck in the lobby. They made a hasty getaway using the stolen pickup truck they came in. Simply unbelievable events, all recorded as evidence thanks to Scott’s security systems.

Police taped off and locked down the area for days after. They investigated the attempted robberies, destruction, and the attempted homicide. Local media covered the unbelievable story as well, another instance of senseless crime escalating not just in Scott’s area but in many others, too.

Self-Serve Bay Damage

The Aftermath of the Crime Spree

If that single day wasn’t bad enough to go through, the real nightmare cam after. Despite using an insurance broker and using the same company for nearly 20 years, he has only received one partial payout for the damage as of the interview.

Scott has learned a lot about insurance policies since that cold February day. Despite paying a broker to ensure that his business is properly insured, reallocations of coverage by the insurance company were written over the years.

The result? His building was actually underinsured at the time of the incident. Equipment like pumps, softeners, RO units, compressors, and more are part of the building itself, not contents of the building. Ongoing battles with insurance, and delay after delay from adjusters, analysts, and engineers have caused the process to be a long and painful one. Scott is still fighting for funds. The insurance initially tried to stop him from doing any work to the site. They also assigned a 24% penalty for the underinsurance. The company said they will only pay out what proven claims. This has taken quite a financial and physical toll – a David and Goliath battle in a small Canadian town.

Meanwhile, his in-bay automatic (which was not damaged in the incident) has been keeping his business going, though not as well as it performed in the past. “It’s been tough with all the activity and the appearance of the site. It’s hard to ensure customers we are open for business. We’ve been pushing on social media and using ads and banners to keep people coming in,” he said. “My vac station income is also dramatically lower, by 35 – 45%. Their use is definitely tied more to my self-serve bays.”

Moving Forward

Scott has finally finished rebuilding the site on his own, with hopes that the insurance issues are resolved soon.

“I’m fortunate to have the financial means to move forward and rebuild with a line of credit after an incident like this. But, what about those who aren’t?”, he said.

This owner is taking all he’s gone through and learned into careful consideration moving forward. He has installed direct replacements for equipment in accordance with the insurance policies on the building that was destroyed. That building is now constructed with 9 separate I-beams instead of one. While he hopes it will never be tested, the new design will minimize damage if another impact should ever occur. His policies have been carefully reviewed and updated so his coverage isn’t in question ever again.

He’s also adding a second in-bay automatic, 16 additional cameras (totaling 32) for more security, and all new and cashless pay stations. “Crime everywhere is on the rise,” said Murray. “Since that morning I’ve had 3 vandalism/robbery attempts on the pay station for my in-bay automatic. They’re bold…they don’t care if it’s caught on camera.”  If it keeps up, he predicts higher premiums and deductibles for wash owners and other similar businesses. He believes it’s possible that insurance may be altogether impossible to attain for unmanned facilities that use cash pay stations.

We really feel for Scott having to go through this mess, and we admire his determination moving forward. He has had great support from his community. We all hope resolutions to the situation come in his favor as he begins another year at Ezee Clean!

This article originally appeared in the

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