BURBANK (CBSLA.com) — A South Gate man was arrested Thursday for allegedly trying to steal 24 quarts of motor oil — strapped to his body and stuffed into his clothing.
Jorge Sanchez, 35, was spotted about 4:30 p.m. trying to leave a Burbank Costco without paying for the oil.
Store employees gave chase and officials said they lost Sanchez after he jumped a fence at the west side of the Costco parking lot.
Burbank Police Sgt. Darin Ryburn told CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Andrea Fujii that nine of the 24 quarts were recovered during the foot chase.
Authorities said Sanchez walked into the Costco and went straight to the oil aisle. He allegedly grabbed a couple of cases and emptied them.
Said Ryburn, “He proceeded to hide the quarts of oil in his pants, socks, and in his shirt.”
Sanchez was later apprehended near Beachwood Drive and Monterey Avenue, about eight blocks from the store.
Officials said he was arrested on suspicion of burglary charges.
Margo Martin was a witness to the apprehension. “All of a sudden, I hear ‘Get down on the ground’ and there is this man laying in our driveway.”
Witnesses thought the man was running funny and weren’t sure why. Witness Manuel Atlas said, “He looked kind of heavy and out of shape.” Police said Sanchez was also running funny because he still had 15 quarts of oil strapped to him. Police said he used a bungee cord to strap the bottles down.
Martin said, “The man just kept saying, ‘I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.’ So they were trying to get him to sit up. Probably because he had those things strapped to him apparently.”
Fujii asked if police could give a motive for this unusual crime? Ryburn said, “He apparently changes oil as his profession and it’s just too expensive.”
When police searched Sanchez’ car, they found 50 more quarts of oil. They’re investigating if they were also stolen.