Thieves Take Vacant Gas Station Canopy In Broad Daylight

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Monday, April 22, 2012

Valley Center Police are searching for a group of men thought to be making repairs at a vacant gas station, but instead are suspected of stealing more than $100,000 in property.

"I think everybody was sort of happy in a way to see that there was going to be some improvement made. Nobody thought there was anything out of the ordinary," said Detective Chuck Quinn of the Valley Center Police Department.

On Nov. 28, a group of up to 5 men disassembled and took the canopy, gas pump and sign at the vacant gas station on the southeast corner of Main and Meridian.

The men were not authorized to take the property from the business. Police said they made sure this was not a civil or contract dispute.

"This was a straight out theft," said Quinn.

Many witnesses including the local newspaper, Ark Valley News, took photos of the men working in broad daylight.

One of the suspects also got a haircut at Don Bennett Jr.'s barber shop that day.

"The way I understand it, they were repossessing it the next day. That's why I think he was probably trying to get the awning down," said Bennett. "Sounded reasonable to me."

Police have exhausted their leads and need help to identify the suspects in the photos. One of the suspects told a witness he was from Oklahoma.

If you have information about this theft, call Valley Center Police at 755-7300 or Crime Stoppers at 267-2111.

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