NORTHRIDGE (CBSLA.com) — It’s how Nicolas Budner says he makes his living, using tiny tattoo machines to create his art.

But early Wednesday morning, 18 of them were stolen from Kathouse Tattoos by a thief who, police say climbed through a small hole to get in.

“Those are our paint brushes,” Shop co-owner Nicolas Budner said.  “We may have needles and ink but without our machines that’s our bread and butter.”

Budner says the theft had the making of a Hollywood crime episode.

He believes whoever did it got on the roof climbed in an open vent into the meter room, made a hole to get into the empty business next door and made another hole to climb into his business.

“Through the hatch, down the ladder, through two walls, and into our business. Yeah, it was pretty MacGyver,” Budner said.

He says the thief or thieves knew exactly what they were after. Each tattoo machine costs upwards of $800.

“A very, very large collection of tattoo machines, from all of my artists, most of these things are one of a kind,” Budner said.

In the meantime, Budner says, other tattoo parlors have given them machines on loan.

And he hopes other artists will be leery if the thieves try to sell them his machines.

“They’re scumbags.  I’m a hard-working, blue-collar guy just like anybody else.”

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