by David DeMullé
A family whose catering truck was stolen and involved in a police pursuit showed their gratitude by making dinner for the officers who tracked down the van last month and captured the suspect. The Epic Tacos food truck drove up to the back of the LAPD Foothill Division parking lot and started passing out anything the police officers wanted.
It all started while Epic Tacos employees were loading the taco truck on Feb. 28 and someone jumped in the driver’s seat and took off. “Next thing you know, I hear somebody jump in the van,” said Epic Tacos co-owner Edgar Ruiz. The owner immediately called the police. “Big letters – Epic Tacos on the side. You can’t miss it. You shouldn’t be able to miss it. Knucklehead.”
Officers chased the stolen van from Pacoima to Granada Hills where the suspect ditched the van and as he tried to escape LAPD took the suspect, Jorge Gutierrez, into custody within the hour.
Although the taco van was damaged by the suspect during the pursuit, the catering company eventually got their van back. But the owners said “it’s lot better than not having it back at all.”
“I couldn’t believe it was happening to us,” said Sandra Ruiz. “It was a brand new van that was on its first day out.”
In gratitude for the officers quick response and return of their van, Sandra and Edgar Ruiz wanted to give back to the officers who got their van back by serving them tacos free of charge.
“It just blows me away,” said Sgt. Frank Alferez of the LAPD. “We’re just doing our job. It’s just a humbling experience for them to be here.”