Serra Mesa

Serra Mesa gas station owner offers $10K reward for capture of suspected burglars

Multiple security cameras captured the break-in from several angles

NBC Universal, Inc.

A Serra Mesa gas station owner is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of two suspected burglars accused of trying to steal an ATM on Thursday.

San Diego police responded to an ear-splitting alarm at the Shell station on Genesee Avenue on the Fourth of July at around 2 a.m.

“Its really sad,” the station maintenance worker William Bussey said.

He says it was more mess than mastermind crime.

“I don’t know what these guys were going to do. Try to pull it out with a cable or something like that. They didn’t seem like they really knew what they were doing,“ Bussey said.

Multiple security cameras captured the break-in from several angles.

Footage shows a rental van pulling up in front of the Shell station. Two people, dressed in dark clothing, gloves, masks and hoodies, use a rock to smash the sidelight window. They run inside. The two would-be burglars spend less than 45 seconds trying to pry the ATM from its secured anchor bolts.

“They had it pulled away from the wall, almost down at an angle like that, and it kept bouncing back up on those front anchor bolts. I got to give kudos to that guy who installed it,“ Bussey said.

The two fled with nothing for their efforts — not the ATM or anything else.

So upset by the breech, the store owner, who wished not to be identified, is offering the reward for the capture of the two men.

“Rewards are one of, if not the most, effective means of catching criminals,” Arkan Somo, the president of the Neighborhood Market Association, told NBC 7.

Somo said while working with former Police Chief Jerry Sanders more than two decades ago, they came up with the concept of crime prevention through environmental design.

On the list of effective preventive measures:

  • Close with the cash drawer open, empty and in plain sight
  • Limit signage that covers the front face of the building
  • Use adequate lighting
  • Put the ATM somewhere away from the door

“Stores with ATM machines have been targeted since they were first installed. ATM machines don’t hold thousands of dollars but just enough needed for that day,” Somo said.

Bussey sealed the sidelight with plywood a two-by-four and reinforced steel to discourage any attempts at a second round with the ATM.

San Diego police say they are investigating and, at last check, there are no arrests in connection with this case.

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