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Contractor turns detective, tracks down stolen items before calling police

Business owner followed trail from flat tire on stolen BBQ pit

San Antonio – When he found his South Side construction business burglarized on Jan. 7, Maurice Martinez put on his detective hat instead of a hard hat.

Martinez arrived that morning at the Galleon Contracting lot on New Laredo Highway to find the fence cut and some lumber, a stereo from a Ford Mustang, and a BBQ pit missing.

Surveillance cameras caught the suspect in a #24 Dallas Cowboys jersey walking around the lot the night before and even driving off in a pickup truck with the tow-away pit, but it was Martinez’s eyes that caught a vital clue.

A flat tire on the BBQ pit had fallen off during the thief’s escape, Martinez said, and he was able to spy marks on the pavement from the wheel. Following the marks to a home on West Mayfield Boulevard about a mile away, the contractor and amateur sleuth found the stolen items.

“And also there’s a truck that came out on the surveillance video, the pit was covered up with a tarp, and then all our plywood was stacked up there leaning against his house,” Martinez said.

Martinez called the police, who, according to an arrest affidavit, staked out the house to make sure the truck didn’t leave. The officer watching the home saw a man in a #24 Dallas Cowboys jersey standing next to the the truck.

San Antonio police said they found Andrew Sepulveda wearing a #24 Dallas Cowboys jersey like the man caught on surveillance video.
San Antonio police said they found Andrew Sepulveda wearing a #24 Dallas Cowboys jersey like the man caught on surveillance video. (KSAT)

Police detained the man, Andrew Sepulveda, 35, and though they didn’t find the stereo, Martinez said, police allowed him to take back the lumber and BBQ pit.

Faced with images from the surveillance video, police said Sepulveda identified himself as the one stealing the lumber and BBQ pit as well as burglarizing the Ford Mustang.

It’s not the first time that Sepulveda has been arrested after a suspected appearance on surveillance video. Just check out this KSAT story from December.

For Martinez, who said his business has suffered several break-ins in the past five months, Sepulveda’s arrest is a victory.

“You know, I still get the goosebumps, like ‘man, got this guy,’” he said.


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