PASO ROBLES, Calif. - Tackitt Family Vineyards Owner Leon Tackitt says he knew something was wrong when he had trouble getting into his tasting room in San Miguel last Monday.
"The door was jammed - I couldn't unlock the door from the inside and then I started messing around with it.. that's when I saw the shoe marks from the outside," he explains.
The burglar took not only all of the cash from his register, but the money Tackitt has been collecting for veterans as well.
Tackitt is now one of the more than 25 tasting rooms in the area that have had money stolen.
"Well they took about $150 out of the cash register and we believe about $200-250 out of veteran jar that we keep and collect money for the EOD Warrior Foundation and they cleaned that out and left one dollar in it," Tackitt says.
Tackitt thought because his winery is off the beaten path he would be secure. So far in the nearly 10 years he's been open, nothing like this has happened.
Now he's taking action to make the tasting room more secure, telling us: "We've installed new locks [that are] a lot stronger and probably doing the camera thing too and getting the place wired up for sound unfortunately. It's going to be a big expense but it's something we're gonna have to do to protect our place."
Eberle Winery in Paso Robles is planning on installing more cameras now after hearing about the recent break-ins.
A few weeks ago, the winery had what they believe to be a close call after their motion detectors went off and the police came in the middle of the night.
"It's a shame with the way things are going that you have to keep doing this but we're upping now our security over what it has been," explains owner, Gary Eberle.
Eberle says tasting rooms are a delicate space because someone could pretend to be a customer while casing out the property, telling us: "It would be so easy for somebody who wants to steal from you to come in, have a glass of wine, look around, look for cameras, check your security out and leave and that's a shame because we depend upon the public and the good will of the public."
Crime Stoppers is offering a $1000 reward for anyone with information about who may be behind these burglaries. You're asked to call them at 805-549-7867 or the SLO Sheriff's Office if you have any information.