It wasn’t his father — it was a crook!

The Victim: Aber Leija
The Crime: Burglary of a motor vehicle
Date: Sunday, June 20
Time: 11:15 p.m.
Location: 900 block of Elmdale

Like many Americans in a tough economy, Aber Leija works two jobs —one in maintenance at a downtown Dallas building, and another in home construction on the side. Leija’s truck was parked in front of his house with some tools inside.

Leija’s 17-year-old son, Jaziel, happened to be walking to the front of the home, and saw someone enter the truck.

“I was headed to the front yard and saw a man get into the cab of our truck,” Jaziel says. “I thought it was my brother and father, and went back inside.”

When he saw his father and brother were inside, Jaziel and his father returned to the front yard. The man saw the two, and then hopped a fence in front of a nearby vacant field and scampered away. After briefly following the crook and then combing the field, Jaziel says he and his father recovered the property that was stolen. The crook had stashed tools, including an air compressor, on the vacant property to possibly come back later.

After retrieving the stolen property, the Leijas called police.

“We were able to recover everything,” he says. “We actually found some other materials, too. The cops came and found him walking around with some more tools and arrested him.”

If not for Jaziel’s quick action in alerting his father, the thief might have made off with more property and stolen from someone else.

“I guess it was just a nice coincidence,” Jaziel says.

Dallas Police Deputy Chief Rick Watson of the Southwest Patrol Division says the description provided by Jaziel and Aber allowed police to track down the suspect.

“The witnesses observed the man going into the truck. They followed him, but lost him,” he says. “They were able to give us a description, and officers drove through the neighborhood looking for him, and we did make an arrest of the suspect.

“If thieves feel like they’re getting watched, they may stash items and come back later and get them,” he says. “It is very important not to leave anything in your car. That’s what thieves are looking for.”

1000: Block of East Jefferson where someone broke into a car wash by cutting a hole in the roof
6:45 a.m.: Time on July 3 when the owner received the call that the alarm system had been set off
$800: Value in quarters that was stolen from the business