Man says stolen work truck found with syringes inside, missing $3K in tools

ESCONDIDO, Calif. -- An Escondido man whose truck was stolen right before his eyes said he got it back with the help of police and social media.

Luis Hernandez was about to head to work shortly after 6 a.m. Friday when he watched thieves take off with his truck.

“As soon as I approached my driveway where we live at, I noticed my truck was in reverse, going backwards pretty fast. I started chasing it,” Hernandez said.

Before he knew it, his Ford Ranger was rounding the corner and he was calling 911.

“That’s what you call my baby. That’s my work truck. That’s my daily driver. That’s what brings bread to the table,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez works three jobs: he’s a construction worker, soccer coach and runs an auto detail business out of his truck.

“I’m a hardworking man and I like to do a lot for family and friends, and for somebody that does not have the courtesy to find themselves a job and just live off of other people’s belongings is really irritating,” Hernandez said.

Determined to get his livelihood back, he and his family took to social media asking for people to be on the lookout for his Ford Ranger. Sure enough, someone spotted it.

“I had one of my cousins call us and said ‘hey, I think I see your truck, but the license plates are different,’” Hernandez said.

Hernandez called police. A couple hours later, he learned officers had found his truck -- with different plates -- and the driver.

Although Hernandez is glad to have his truck back, he said the thieves stole around $3,000 worth of his cleaning equipment and tools.

He also found a mess inside -- food, drinks, syringes and what appeared to be drugs.

“Pretty pissed off to be honest. It’s just having all this mess in my vehicle when I’m a mobile detailer and everything is just scattered all over the place,” Hernandez said.

After his truck was stolen, Hernandez learned some of his neighbors’ homes have been recently broken into. He said now they are banding together in hopes of adding more lighting and surveillance cameras in the area and creating a neighborhood watch group.

“We’re really concerned about our safety now. It’s kind of frustrating because now we don’t feel safe in our own neighborhood,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez told FOX 5 the engine was running when his truck was stolen and that he learned his lesson.

The Escondido Police Department said one person has been arrested in the case.