In just under two minutes, two burglars stole around $20,000 worth of merchandise at a model and remote-control car business in Hoover. Although he has been through a lot in his 33 years of business, the owner of The Model Box 2.0 said he wouldn’t let the robbery get him down.

The incident happened at the store in Hoover Court, off Highway 11, in the early morning hours of Monday, Dec. 27.

Owner Jeremy Hartmann said around 4:10 a.m., two people in a U-Haul stolen from Louisiana broke into the store and took remote control cars.

“They knew exactly what they wanted,” said Jeremy Hartmann. “They went straight to the RC cars and drug things out. They weren’t even competent. They couldn’t even get them through the door properly. They fell all over the place. It took them three times to back the vehicle up to the place because [there are] no smart robbers.”

After watching the surveillance video, Jeremy Hartmann said it was clear that he was dealing with the epitome of “dumb criminals.”

“When you watch the video, it shows you how stupid they are when they’re trying to get out the building with a trolley and they can’t even drive a truck properly,” said Jeremy Hartmann. “It shows you the people that do it don’t have much common sense or [much of] an IQ and that’s why they do what they do.”

Jeremy Hartmann said the thieves did check the door before they drove up to break into the building. He said they knew no one was at the store and that there was an alarm on the business protecting the high-quality merchandise.

“Some of these cars go for $1,000,” said Hartmann. “This is not the toy store stuff; this is the stuff you can do a lot more with and add to and modify.”

The Model Box 2.0 has been at the Hoover Court location for 13 years. The original store, which was on Data Drive, was destroyed in a fire in 2014, so Hartmann is no stranger to starting over. In fact, because of the fire, the store was out of business for a year.

Jeremy Hartmann said he started in the business in December of 1988, and the past couple of years have been good for business. In fact, his son, Ben Hartmann, said the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted business in a good way because people have been able to spend more time on hobbies, such as remote-control cars and planes.

“Business has been absolutely booming,” said Ben Hartmann. “Everyone has been really getting into the hobbies.”

With the increase in demand, Jeremy Hartmann said he believes the stolen items will be sold online and he already has people looking on social media trade sites for his expensive remote-control cars being sold at a low price.

The Hoover Police Department is investigating the burglary. Although two people broke into the store, Jeremy Hartmann believes there were others involved. He said the surveillance video showed a vehicle he believes to be a Chevrolet Equinox arriving on the scene and leaving with one of the thieves.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Hartmann said he will continue to focus on providing people with items they need and want. He is already working on restocking and said he has insurance to cover his loss.

“There’s no need in brooding over it,” said Hartmann. “I decided, you know what? It’s nowhere near like the fire we had, okay? That took my whole livelihood for a year. But I brought it back because I wasn’t going to get put down.”

Hartmann said he is confident that those responsible will be brought to justice.

“I’m not going to waste my time thinking about these people,” said Hartmann. “They’ll get their comeuppance, okay. It’s as simple as that. I’ve got to get on with my life and get on with my business.”

If you have information, call the Hoover Police Department.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email