FRESNO, California (KSEE) — A 71-year-old Vietnam veteran is working to replace all the cash stolen from him earlier this week while he was pumping gas. The money was for a landscaping job he took on, to help his family that’s been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This happened Tuesday, but there still haven’t been any suspects identified by Saturday in this crime.
Looking back on the situation four days later, Al Lopez admits he could’ve been more careful.
“I was very careless and foolish in what I did,” he said.
On Tuesday morning, he pulled into the Sinclair gas station on Olive Avenue and near Highway 99. He had just cashed an $8,000 check for a landscaping job.
He stuck the envelope in his back pocket after paying for a fill up.
“As I was about to get in the truck, I felt this person behind me and grab the envelope out of my pocket,” Lopez said. “I turned around and he dashed to this white car with a door open.”
Lopez followed him and even managed to get halfway into the car before the driver accelerated. When the suspects did drive off, Lopez hit the ground hard and by Saturday his injuries had healed for the most part.
He’s grateful to still be alive.
“Something terrible could’ve happened. [They] may have had a gun,” Lopez said.
For the most part, Lopez had been retired and took the landscaping job to help his family financially. Aside from that, he wanted to make sure he still had enough money to spoil his four grandsons.
“Take them to Pismo Beach, go out to the dunes, that sort of thing. I’d like to be able to do more [with them],” he said.
As he works to replace the $8,000 stolen, Lopez wishes his robbers some good will.
“Hopefully the right people come into their lives and support them the way I’ve been supported. So they can feel they don’t need to behave like that,” he said.
Lopez’s son started a GoFundMe for his father to help recoup some of the stolen money. You can find it by clicking here.
If you know anything about what happened to Lopez, like who the suspects could be, call Fresno Police at 559-621-7000.