SANTEE, Calif. (KGTV) - Surveillance video obtained by ABC 10News shows a gas thief in action in Santee.
Just before 3 a.m. last Wednesday, at a business park off North Woodside Avenue, the video revealed a masked man up to no good.
"Just sad seeing someone doing that," said Kevin Wilson.
The owner of the vans shown in the video is Kevin Wilson, co-owner of carpet cleaning and repair company, Southwestern Carpet Works. Hours later, he arrived and smelled the aftermath.
"Pulled up to work and I could immediately smell gas," said Wilson.
When he looked at the gas gauge of his box van, his heart sank.
"Instantly could tell there was less than a quarter tank, and there was a full tank the day before," said Wilson.
Here's why. In the video, a man is seen carrying a water jug and some tubing. The man shoves the tube into the gas tank, before puts the tube to his mouth and siphoning the gas.
He would get away with about 20 gallons of fuel.
"Angry and disappointed. He is stealing from a small, family business. If you steal from us, you’re stealing from our kids and our employees' kids," said Wilson.
Like most small businesses, his was impacted by COVID-19
"For the first month-and-a-half to two months, it was really slow," said Wilson.
Fast forward to the end of summer. Wilson believes the gas thief in the video is the same one that hit his business two others times in the past few months.
"In times past, a little more cautious. He had his back to camera, but dressed in similar clothes and shoes," said Wilson.
Wilson says other businesses in the area have also been targeted in the same time period. The rash of gas thefts is fueling plenty of frustration.
"If he’s not caught, he’ll continue to do it to the next business and the next business," said Wilson.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Santee Sheriff's Station at 619-956-4000.