ADAMS COUNTY, Colo (CBS4) – An Adams County business owner says he’s looking at tens of thousands of dollars in losses after a brazen smash and grab. It happened early Thursday morning at Merritt Welding & Fabrication near 54th and Tennyson Street. The Adams County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene.

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“It took them a half hour to take everything and about an hour and a half to break in,” said owner Jacob Long. “That’s how determined they were to get into our shop.”

On Sunday, Long showed a pile of empty boxes he had kept from several of his power tools. Before Thursday, they were all part of a stockpile of equipment that took him 10 long years to amass and just hours to lose.

“I had welders in here, had drills, grinders, all kinds of stuff and they basically took everything out other than one or two tools,” Long said.

Early Thursday morning, Long got a call from an employee about a break in at the workspace. Security video from a business next door shows a truck pulling up around 2 a.m. and then leaving two hours later, Long said.

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A smashed garage door and busted handle show are now proof of the thieves’ first and failed attempts to get in. Long says they eventually got into the space next door, which contained a forklift and piles of lumber, before breaking in through an adjoining door.

(credit: CBS)

“They basically took the forklift and just rammed everything out of the way,” he said.

Among the dozens of things now missing are welders, power tools, a generator, and even the company credit card. Long said he’s still doing the math but estimates it could cost between $30,000 and $50,000 to replace everything.

“It was kind of a shock because all at once I didn’t even know if I was going to have a job for seven guys to be able to come in and their job anymore … How to tell them and their families that they might not have work potentially because of this,” Long said.

Long said he and investigators believe this could have been a targeted crime.

“They didn’t try and attempt to get through anybody else’s doors other than ours,” he said. “My guess is that they would have had to have known that there was an adjoining door.”

Long’s business is insured, but he said he’s not hopeful everything will be fully covered. He’s now installing cameras and an alarm system so an incident like this never happens again.

“You keep your shop locked up and you assume it’s going to be safe,” he said. “You don’t expect people to do everything and anything to try to make life miserable.”

Long says his priority is for the thieves to be caught so his equipment can be returned. He’s asking anyone with any information about this incident reach out to the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.

On Sunday, he also created a GoFundMe page to collect donations.

Conor McCue