By Lemor Abrams

AUBURN (CBS13) — Thieves broke into Auburn Toyota overnight Tuesday and got away with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of car parts.

“I was completely caught off guard,” said Tony Toohey, owner of Auburn Toyota.

In the 25 years he’s been at the dealership, Toohey said there’s been an occasional stolen car, but nothing as bad as 27 cars broken into at once.

“It’s a real bummer to not have this inventory to have our employees sell,” Manager Lee Rafferty said.

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Employees call the robbery a professional job. Detectives said a group of thieves broke a gate that surrounds the lot and drove right in.

Toohey said the thieves did leave fingerprints behind as they ripped out computer panels that control everything from the air conditioning to the stereo. Without those panels, he says, the cars are undrivable.

“In the short-term, the cars will all be fixed, but you take some cars out of the mix during the holiday season and it makes it harder to do business,” said Toohey.

Some buyers are hoping it’ll be their gain.

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“If one of the cars damaged was a RAV4 I might be able to buy it because they’re going to have to sell it cheaper,” said Cheryl Green.

The dealership won’t talk discounts yet. Management assures customers the cars will all be repaired like new, with a full factory warranty.

“You know, we’re gonna survive,” said Toohey.

For now, they’re just focused on installing a brand-new security system, complete with motion sensor technology. As for the investigation, anyone with information is urged to call the Placer County Sheriff’s Department.

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