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Man Suspected of Stealing Gas Arrested in San Juan Capistrano

Investigators are looking into whether today's incident is tied to others thefts in the San Fernando Valley. Meanwhile, the man's unmanned truck ran into an electric box and knocked out electricity in the area.

A man suspected of stealing gas was arrested in San Juan Capistrano today. Patch file photo.
A man suspected of stealing gas was arrested in San Juan Capistrano today. Patch file photo.

Originally posted at 3:21 p.m. April 1, 2014. Edited to add video.

A man suspected of stealing gas from a San Juan Capistrano was detained by the proprietor, leaving his truck unmanned and careening into an electric box, knocking out power in the area.

The series of events was reported around 6 this morning, said Lt. Jeff Hallock, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department. 

The owner of the 76 gas station at Junipero Road and the I-5 arrived to find a man pumping gas into several containers in the bed of pickup truck, Lt. John Meyer, chief of Police Services for San Juan.

“The owner noticed that the front casing to his pump had been removed and that the subject appeared to be stealing gas,” Meyer said. 

The owner confronted the man, later identified as Zahir A. Shabass, 49, of Garden Grove, who tried to leave. That's when his runaway truck hit the power box, Meyer said.

San Diego Gas & Electric workers showed up, advising it would take four hours to restore power.

Meanwhile, “investigators responded to the scene to follow up as there have been similar reports of gas thefts in Orange/Los Angeles counties and prior media attention regarding the thefts,” Meyer said. 

In February, CBS reported a series of gasoline thefts in the San Fernando Valley.

Shabass was arrested on suspicion of robbery, burglary and possession of burglary tools, Meyer said.


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