Thieves swipe four spas in Omaha - Making News

Thieves swipe four spas in Omaha - Making NewsThe size and weight of hot tubs would seem to make them impervious to theft, but determined thieves in Omaha, Neb., found a way to persevere.

The thieves targeted two spa and pool stores here in June during the early morning hours, robbing them in the wake of tent sales where the units had been left out overnight in parking lots.

In the first heist, a sand-colored spa, valued at $4,800, was taken from Home Innovations June 6. Two weeks later, three hot tubs, valued at nearly $20,000 and also sand-colored, were stolen from Classic Pools and Spas, according to officials at both companies.

No suspects have been taken into custody, and no leads have been reported for either case, said Omaha police investigators.

Due to similarities in the cases, police believe they may be related, and that it's likely more than one person was involved. "They were both taken overnight during an outdoor tent sale," said Omaha Police Sgt. Cathy Cook. "They both required a big vehicle."

The criminals might be involved with the local drug community, according to Sgt. Cook. "A lot of thefts can be tied back to drugs, and someone could be trading the hot tubs for drugs," she said.

The thieves also seemed to have good color sense. "The only spas they took [in both robberies] were the ones with the same sand-colored interior," said Randy Larsen, sales manager at Classic Pools and Spas. "It's one of the more popular colors on the market They had to move spas around to get them out. I had everything from white to blue and green interiors, but those were untouched."

The picky perpetrators probably took the spas out of state, said Larsen. "If they're smart, they're not going to keep them in Omaha. They would be too easy to be spotted by serial number or if they needed service.

"I have a feeling they are probably going to take them out of the market and sell them as 'used' or 'like new' tubs," Larsen added. "If you hit a big market like Kansas City or Denver, they could advertise in the paper, 'Like new hot tub. Hardly used.'"

In an effort to track down the thieves, Larsen said dealers of Dimension One Spas, the manufacturer of the four stolen units, have been alerted in a seven-state area.

"If someone comes in looking for parts or a cover, they'll be able to track the stolen merchandise through the serial numbers," Larsen said. "If anyone tries something in Minneapolis, Kansas City, Denver, Des Moines or any of the large markets, the dealers are going to be aware of it. It's unfortunate that it's happened this way, but I'm hoping that other people can learn from it."

Investigators believe the thefts may be solved through a tip to police. "Obviously, somebody knows something about the crime," Sgt. Cook said. "We just hope that somebody comes forward at some point and tells us what happened."

In the meantime, both retailers have beefed up their security to thwart would-be thieves. Classic Pools and Spas will be hiring round-the-clock guards at future parking-lot tent sales, while Home Innovations already has installed an alarm system



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