VISTA, Calif. - The man who Carlsbad police say they caught "red-handed" siphoning diesel out of a local business' truck tanks pleaded not guilty Thursday, but that plea did not come without a measure of drama.
Francisco Moedano, 30, was arrested at 3 a.m. June 24 after a security guard at ViaSat in Carlsbad saw him siphoning gas and called police. Moedano was charged with possession of stolen property, burglary, possession of burglary tools, receiving stolen property and drug charges.
The car he was driving was a silver Toyota Rav4, which matched the description of a vehicle seen leaving two other diesel thefts in north San Diego County. The Rav4 was outfitted with a sophisticated siphon connected to the vehicle's electrical system. There were several large tanks of diesel fuel inside the vehicle.
Moedano, who was out on bail, arrived at Vista court with his wife and mother. He entered the courtroom initially but later disappeared. Two hours after his 1:30 arraignment time had come and gone, Judge Marshall Hockett ordered a warrant for his arrest be issued.
Minutes later, after 10News left courtroom 14, Moedano reappeared. Hockett agreed to allow him to enter a plea of not guilty, then remanded Moedano to jail, raising his bail to $50,000 and calling him a "danger to the community," citing his "terrible" previous criminal record.
Moedano has an extensive criminal record and did prison time for burglary and for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Moedano will return to court for a preliminary hearing on July 16. In the meantime, investigators continue to seek the public's help with information about the case.