Longtime fan favorite and prolific area stock car driver Bobby Varin gained a new title this week — crime victim — but he’ll put that out of his mind as he heads to Syracuse next week for a major racing event.
The perennial champion at Fonda Speedway went to his garage in Sharon Springs on Thursday and found the doors broken open and numerous tools gone. The culprit took computer items, air tools and more-expensive Snap-on tools, leaving the cheaper items, he said. He also lost race car parts, spare transmissions and other items he estimates are worth more than $15,000.
The theft comes at a time when Varin and about 15 other local racers are preparing to compete at Super DIRT Week in Syracuse, the climax of the regional dirt track racing season.
Varin, 42, said his garage is insured, but he’s not sure if it will cover all he’s lost. He said he doesn’t believe drivers are specifically targeted for theft and said the crime is more likely related to the economy.
“I think what’s going on here is people are starving and they’re just looking for anything they can get to get some money,” Varin said.
He suspects the burglary was the work of one person because tools were taken out of an expensive Snap-on toolbox. The heist would have been more lucrative had the entire toolbox been taken, he said.
“I think if it was two or more people they would’ve carried the whole box out.”
The perpetrator also failed to grab a fresh engine, valued at about $30,000.
As many as 15,000 fans will converge on the New York State Fairgrounds from Oct. 3 to 7. The nationally televised races are among the final events of the season and the most lucrative financially, Varin said.
He said he should have enough gear to attend.
“I’m just trying to keep it off my mind right now. We’re trying to make sure that we’ve got everything we need. It kind of takes away all of our spare stuff, but we’ll get through. We’ll beg, borrow and get through it,” Varin said.
He said state police are probing the crime. Investigators could not be reached Friday.