SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO ( — The owners of a 76 station in San Juan Capistrano chased down a man suspected of stealing more than 100 gallons of gas early Tuesday morning.

Co-owner Jim Adam said when he saw the suspected gas thief around 6 a.m., he ran after him.

“I told him, I said, ‘Hey, don’t move!’” he said. “He dropped the pump and jumped in his car. I went chasing after him. I pulled him out of the truck. And he slammed it into drive and just…jumped on the gas…and the car just took off.”

KCAL9’s Stacey Butler reported the truck crashed into a light pole, just missing a transformer.

“Thank God nobody got hurt,” Adam said.

Security tape showed Adam, followed by his brother, tackling the suspect to the ground.

Minutes later, Orange County sheriff’s deputies arrived and took the alleged thief into custody.

“That’s our money. We make a dime a gallon. All gas stations around the country. For these guys to steal the way they do, it’s a crime. And I’m so glad I caught him,” Adam said.

Police identified the suspect as 49-year-old Zahir Shabazz of Garden Grove.

He’s also accused of taking gas from several other stations in the Southland.

“They linked him to Corona, Los Angeles, Orange County,” Adam said.

Investigators said with a swipe of his credit card and a device to deactivate the meter, Shabazz filled up empty drums in the back of his truck for free.

Deputies said because of the Adam brothers, the suspect won’t strike again.

“I’ll tell you what… it was a great satisfaction,” Adam said.

Anyone with information on the crime was asked to call the sheriff’s South Investigations at (949) 425-1901.


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