Auto glass shop owners seeing increased demand, scarcer supplies

Auto parts, tempered glass costly replacements for vehicle burglary victims

SAN ANTONIO – Auto glass shop owners said there’s been a boom in business due to the increase in vehicle break-ins and the shortage of supplies that has continued since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carolina Vargas was waiting for an auto glass replacement company to drop by her North Side apartment parking lot to fix her broken window on Wednesday. She was using Saran wrap to protect the inside of the vehicle while she waited.

“They didn’t try and steal the actual car. They just kind of broke into a window, went through my glove compartment or my center console,” she said.

Vargas was one of several vehicle owners struck by vandals, she said.

Tanner Schafer, the owner of Omni Glass, said the problems with the pandemic, delays in shipment and the increase in vehicle break-ins have collided to create a problem with which auto glass stores are trying to deal.

“This year’s been nuts for break-ins. ... We’ve been in business since like 2017, and this is probably the most I’ve ever had to do,” Schafer said.

Many customers are KIA and Hyundai vehicle owners who are reportedly being targeted. Schafer said the demand and scarcity of tempered glass have created a price increase for everyone.

“We’ve been getting probably, on average, about three or four calls a day,” he said.

Schafer urges customers to shop around for quotes. He said customers had returned multiple times because they continued to be victims.

SAPD warns drivers to take precautions, buy wheel locks, park in well-lit areas and update their cars with anti-theft software.

About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.