An eagle-eyed neighbour raised the alarm when he popped outside for a cigarette and saw suspicious activity at a car wash, Bradford Crown Court was told.
Three Halifax men were given community orders after admitting burglary at Sparkles Car Wash, Bradford Road, Brighouse.
Jordan Crossley, 22, of Backhold Avenue, Siddal, was given a six-month community order.
Kieran Horsfield, 26, of Ashville Gardens, Pellon, and Bobby Maguire, 23, of Warley Road, each received a 12-month community order with 150 hours unpaid work and a curfew from 9 pm to 5.30 am.
Prosecutor Matthew Donkin said the men broke into the office around 11.15 pm one night last year.
A neighbour across the road having a cigarette and his partner saw Maguire and Horsfield force the office door and they called the police.
The men stole £480 cash, two mobile phones and tools. Police soon caught them.
Maguire was found hiding in the VW vehicle the three men had arrived in.
All had previous convictions but Crossley had far less than the other two and was said to be working and making progress with his life.
Recorder James Brown said such burglaries brought damage and concern to small businesses struggling through difficult times.
“This offence, despite its impact does not cross the custody threshold,” he said.