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3,000 gallons of diesel fuel worth $16,000 stolen from Hesperia gas station

CBS News Los Angeles: The Rundown (Sept. 27 AM Edition)
CBS News Los Angeles: The Rundown (Sept. 27 AM Edition) 01:58

Three men from out of state face charges of grand theft after stealing thousands of gallons of diesel fuel from a gas station in Hesperia.

Rolando Tamayo Tomas, 52, of Las Vegas; Luis Fernandez Cueria, 32, of Dallas; and Carlos Tejeda Pereira, 28, of Miami, were arrested last Wednesday on suspicion of grand theft and conspiracy to commit grand theft. Tomas and Pereira have since posted bail and have been released, and jail records were not found for Cueria.

San Bernardino County sheriff's officials say Tripco Mart, at Ranchero Road and 7th Street in Hesperia, called on Sept. 10 to report the theft of approximately 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel from their pumps, an amount worth about $16,000. Detectives went to the station and found an electronic manipulation device had been inserted into the pump.

The station's security cameras captured a white Ford F-250 with Nevada license plates and a white GMC pickup truck with temporary Florida plates with large fuel tanks installed in the bed of each truck apparently involved in the theft, along with a U-Haul truck. The registered owner of the Ford, Tomas, was determined to be the person who rented the U-Haul truck, according to authorities.

Sheriff's investigators say the same suspects, using the same trucks, returned a few nights later to steal more diesel fuel. In this incident, the driver of one of the suspect vehicles got into a physical altercation with an employee who saw the theft. The employee was not injured and called 911.

Detectives found the GMC pickup truck parked in front of a Victorville home on Sept. 21. After a search of the home on C Street, Cueria and Pereira were arrested. Tomas was detained and arrested after he was spotted driving by the home in the Ford while detectives were there.

Authorities say they found the vehicles and tanks used in the theft, along with an electronic device used to manipulate fuel pump electronic systems.

Gas thefts appear to be on the rise in the Inland Empire. Just last week, two men from Orange County were arrested for stealing hundreds of gallons of gasoline from stations in Pinon Hills and Phelan.

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