San Diego police are on the lookout for a gas thief who the victims say was caught on security cameras not once, but three times, siphoning fuel from a local company's fleet.
Same Day Restoration is a Grantville company that cleans and restores homes and businesses after disasters.
They’ve caught the thief on camera pulling into full camera view in a white Toyota Tacoma with a bed full of gas containers, lights, tubes and tools, and parking right beneath a spotlight. The license plate is covered, but the driver mugs for the camera and never tries to hide his face.
“I think it's opportunity what he sees,” Kimberly Skinner, the office manager, said.
Skinner said the man in the video siphoned gas from their small eight-vehicle fleet three times. After the first time in April, the company installed locked gas caps. But, they were easily defeated with drills and hand tools.
“This guy is getting maybe $40 in gas but he's costing us so much money and it’s just so selfish,” Skinner said.
The third time was last Tuesday between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. at the company's location on Alvarado Canyon Road.
Gas lines were cut and the fuel drained.
“We probably will be looking at a thousand dollars in repairs, loss of business and loss of tens of thousands of dollars," Skinner said.
The man in the video filled up two gas cans, he poured one in his own tank then refilled it. It all took about 50 minutes, and, in that time, a car went right by him and never even slowed down.
Skinner said it costs too much to store the vehicles in a safer place, but after this latest theft, she fears they can't afford not to.
“We have to cancel our appointments with people who are relying on us to fix their homes. Our guys aren't getting paid that day, so their families are affected and we're affected," Skinner said.
Other businesses in this same stretch of the industrial park shared similar complaints with NBC 7, not only gas stolen but office equipment.
It has gotten so frequent one business owner said the landlord put out a warning to tenants suggesting they lock their front doors during business hours.
The San Diego Police Department confirmed to NBC 7 they are investigating the case. It’s currently in the hands of Eastern Division detectives.