Thief caught on camera siphoning gas from daycare vans at South Austin church
He's consistent, comfortable and downright brazen, that's how a local church pastor described the man he said keeps stealing gas from vans in their parking lot. They set up surveillance and caught the guy in the act, now they are hoping you can help catch this gas bandit.
Tony Zuniga is the Owner and Director of Club Z, an after school and summer camp for kids, "It's scary enough having somebody come at night when we are closed messing with our property, but we definitely don't want children driving in unsafe vehicles," He said weekend after weekend someone has been siphoning gas from his vans, either through taking off the gas cap or cutting the gas line under the vans. "It's costing us time, and then we are late to the schools which upsets principals and teachers, and a parents, so yeah it's putting us behind, costing us gas money," he said. Adding to his costs he has a mechanic on standby to fix the lines, to make sure the kids are safe. His employees have to come in early to gas up the vans because they are now only putting in $10-$15 everyday - and he's had to switch all his gas caps to lock.
Michael Chapman is the Senior Pastor of Journey Church ATX in South Austin; he rents space to Club Z.
He too has fallen victim to theft and they believe it's the same guy. "They've stolen some tools out of a shed that we have out back, broke the lock off, stole some saws, power tools, all that stuff, four or 500 dollars' worth of stuff," he said.
So the pair decided it was time for surveillance, "It wasn't two days later, sure enough we saw the individual siphon gas out of the vans," Chapman said, In the video you can see the man walking up to both vans holding a hose, Chapman said he seems to know what he's doing, "You can watch the video and you can watch him watch traffic. He seems very brazen, just very relaxed, not nervous," he said.
APD is investigating the case, something Chapman and Zuniga hope will at least put a stop to the thefts. "We are hoping something, somebody gives us a tip, or somebody helps us catch this person," Zuniga said. "It's kind of frustrating, (and) hard. If they would've just asked for gas money, we would've given them gas money, it would've been much cheaper," Chapman said.