West Side shopping centers calling on police, city councilwoman after string of thefts and vandalism

The most recent theft happened Monday on General McMullen and Culebra

SAN ANTONIO – At least three West Side shopping centers have been dealing with similar issues of theft and vandalism. The small crimes are costing owners and tenants thousands of dollars.

The most recent crime happened Monday when an AC unit was stripped of its metal. It happened at the shopping center off General McMullen and Culebra.

The owner of the shopping center said they’ve had numerous thefts over the past year. One man keeps popping up on their security cameras but they haven’t been able to get a good look at his face.

Six different locks and multiple AC units have had to be replaced, according to the owner. And, one of his tenant’s front glass doors has been broken as well.

The owner said he’s spent roughly between $5,000 to $6,000 in repairs. He also owns another shopping center in the area, undergoing similar issues.

A third shopping center, just two miles away from the center at General McMullen, has recently drawn a police response after $40 worth of copper was stolen last weekend.

Suspects allegedly cut through a chain-link fence, cut electrical wires and stripped the copper.

Rafael Pena, the regional director for Cano Health, a med clinic in the shopping center, said the copper theft killed power to the entire shopping center, costing them thousands to fix.

“I have medications in my refrigerators. I have vaccines, not only flu but even Covid vaccines. I needed to make sure those were secure and safe and we actually loaded those up into an ice chest and transported them to another clinic so that didn’t compromise the integrity of the vaccines” said Pena.

Police tell us they are investigating these reported crimes.

District 5 Councilwoman Terri Castillo issued this statement to KSAT on Saturday:

“District 5 business owners deserve to thrive in a safe environment for everyone. Our office will continue to work with the San Antonio Police Department to ensure that there is a police presence in the area. SAPD has assured us that they are committed to ensuring that they are present and engaged to mitigate vandalism and theft to best support our residents. Our office and SAPD are accessible to meet with our business community to discuss common safety tips that business owners can take going forward.”

More on KSAT:

About the Authors:

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.