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Band of thieves targeting pricey alcohol strike again

Posted at 4:36 PM, Nov 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-06 21:32:54-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Dramatic video shows what happened after a liquor store owner caught thieves taking off with a pricey bottle in University City.

The theft that spurred Haithem Ballo into action unfolded on in afternoon in September. Surveillance video shows two women entering Courtesy Liquor and Deli. Ballo says the two women asked about his day and browsed the store. They asked about prices, pulling out inexpensive options and put them back on the shelf.

A few minutes later, one of the two grabs a $240 bottle of Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky. At the checkout, one of women is seen walking out. The other woman waits. Suddenly, she takes off into a waiting truck.

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"I just chase them. I know they are thieves," said Ballo.

Ballo is heard shouting as he takes off after them, with one thought in his mind.

"I feel like they robbed me, and I have to get it from them," said Ballo.

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Surveillance video shows Ballo yanking the driver door open and jumping onto the truck. He grabs at the bottle, in the hands of a woman in the back. With the truck on the move, he's struck in the head with the bottle. A man in the passenger seat punches him in the face, before Ballo finally jump off, allowing the truck to speed off.

"We work hard for this money, got a big family. It's not easy to let people steal from you," said Ballo.

Ballo says the three he saw are part of a ring of at least eight thieves that have stolen pricey liquor from the Vons store next door, repeatedly for the past six months. He says the same two women were recorded stealing from Vons this weekend. He admits his actions may not have been the smartest, but he has no regrets.

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"When you work hard for a living, you have to defend yourself," said Ballo.

Ballo says he suffered bruises around his eye and on his head. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call San Diego Police at 619-531-2000.