FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Looters broke into a Fort Lauderdale business as thousands were left without power after a fire erupted at a Florida Power & Light substation.

While Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue was busy battling the blaze, which affected up to 33,000 customers, looters were breaking into Superior Street PowerSports at Northwest 10th Avenue and West Sunrise Boulevard.

The break-in was a headache for the owner who is still making preparations for the store’s grand opening on April 6.

Crooks left behind shattered windows after they successfully took off with two pricey dirt bikes.

“To take two of these vehicles through a broken window, it had to be more than two people,” said Sanchez Hughley.

He said each bike costs about $6,500.

The general manager was relieved at the fact that the store was still preparing to open when the looters came by.

“Luckily we didn’t have everything here. We’re set to open up April 6,” said Nicholas Francis. “After April 6, if this happened then, it’d probably be a little more of a hit and a little more of a problem for us.”

The crooks had the upper hand as the power outage made the alarms and surveillance cameras useless.

“The cameras are on backup systems, so because the power went out for such a long time, the battery died,” Hughley explained. “They came in and took advantage of the time. They knew exactly when to come in.”

Meanwhile, firefighters were hard at work to put out the fire that was caused by a lightning strike just after 8 p.m.

“The flames were so huge,” witness Shawn Williams said. “They were going I don’t know how high.”

As for the business owner, he said he received the disheartening call at around 2 a.m., when power was restored at the shop.

“It’s sad to see that there’s people out there that would go through and do this,” Francis said. “It is what it is. We’re not gonna let one or two bad people stop what we’re doing.”

The owner said he felt disappointed because he and the store’s manager spend their time giving back to the community through events that they host.

If you have any information on this burglary, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.

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