A taco truck patron was hungry for more than food this week. He stole hundreds of dollars at gunpoint, and Oklahoma City police are asking for your help identifying the suspect.
This is not the first time Taqueria El Dolar has been robbed at gunpoint, but this encounter has workers rethinking their security.
The man waited until the day was almost done, and the cash register was full. The truck at the corner of Southwest 29th Street and South Independence Avenue is a regular stop for workers in the area, but around 7 on Monday evening, a man wearing pajama pants showed up at the window.
Owner Malaquias Pelayo says, “He asked me for one taco. I said, ‘That’s $1.25.’ He said, ‘I only have a dollar, can I get it for a dollar?’ I said, ‘My boss is going to get mad, but that’s okay. I’ll give it to you.’”
Pelayo was working in his truck alone that night, and as he turned to put the tortilla on the grill, the man rushed through the open door with a pistol pointed at him.
“He put me on the ground with the gun, and he put the gun to my head,” Pelayo says, “and then he goes and takes the money and takes the cell phone for the taco truck, and he comes back and says he wants all the money I have. I said that’s all I have.”
Pelayo was not hurt in the exchange, but says the same thing happened to him a year and a half ago. Police say this type of crime is not uncommon for food trucks.
“They typically have cash on hand,” says Msgt. Gary Knight, “and that’s probably what makes them more of an attractive target.”
Pelayo says the thief spoke with a Puerto Rican accent, and the motel next door captured several images of him leaving the scene. The man has a full beard and was wearing a Nike zip-up jacket with red pajama pants.
Pelayo plans to install cameras of his own moving forward and will take one extra step to protect his business from the next attack.
“I have to keep the door locked from the inside every time now,” he says, “so that thing’s not going to happen again.”
If you recognize the man in the photos, call Crime Stoppers at 405-235-7300.