RIPON (CBS13) â An alleged thief was caught in the act, trying to steal more than 500 gallons of diesel fuel from a local high school.READ MORE: Dispatch Audio Describes Chilling Details of Boys' Alleged Attack On Own Mother and Brother: 'He Wants To Turn Himself In'
A person spotted the suspect siphoning fuel from a large storage tank at Ripon High School just before 1 a.m. on Wednesday.
Police say the sophisticated thief went to great length to steal about 500 gallons of fuelâworth about $2,250âfrom the school districtâs tank. They spotted a large truck and trailer, complete with hoses.
âThey saw there was a pump mechanism with some batteries and industrial hosing, and he was offloading approximately 500 gallons of diesel fuel into his tanks that he brought in,â said Ripon Police Sgt. Steve Merchant.
Officers found the suspected thief hiding inside his trailer, arresting 44-year-old Joe Leonard, Sr. of Ceres.READ MORE: El Dorado County Wildlife Rescues Seeing Influx Of Injured Fawns
The massive tank holds a total of 10,000 gallons of fuel for the districtâs fleet of school buses.
Students preparing for the upcoming school year canât understand why a thief would target schools.
âFor him to try and steal the schoolâs gas is totally wrong,â said freshman Courtney Slamon. âIt takes a lot of money to pay for that.â
Officers donât know what the man planned to do with the fuel, or if this was his first time siphoning.MORE NEWS: 4 People Taken To Hospital After 5-Car Crash On Highway 99 Near Galt
âTheyâd have to have some basic knowledge how pump systems and how tanks work, the way they ran the hose up there.â