SAN LEANDRO (CBS SF) – An Oakland man allegedly donned an orange vest and pretended to be a city worker in order to steal cast iron grates at the base of street trees in San Leandro, police said Friday.

Officials from the city’s Public Works Department first reported the thefts on Monday when they discovered several metal tree grates had been stolen on the north end of 14th Street, said police spokesman Lt. Jeff Tudor.

The grates, which cover the base of street trees at sidewalk level, are very heavy and made of cast iron.

At about 3:45 p.m. Thursday, a San Leandro police officer noticed a man pulling up a grate from the base of a tree near San Leandro Boulevard and Creekside Plaza.

The man was wearing a bright orange work vest similar to those worn by city workers and had an open can of paint next to him, as if he was conducting legitimate work, Tudor said.

When the officer contacted the man, he spotted two other cast iron grates in the back of a black pickup truck. A license plate check determined the truck was stolen out of Oakland.

The man, identified by police as Oakland resident Abundio Colmenero, 57, was arrested on suspicion of possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of stolen property and grand theft.

Inside the vehicle, police also discovered receipts for the sale of more than 1,600 pounds of recycled materials.

“This was a well planned crime,” Tudor said. “Colmenero used props and construction type uniforms to help conceal his criminal act.

“It’s rewarding when you can arrest a subject like Colmenero who is stealing city property,” he said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (54)
  1. Par for the course from a Drudge linked article…..Crafty criminal in some wacky getup stealing non-precious metal. Get used to this sort of news.

    1. Dave says:

      Just go back to MSNBC and learn about baby panda bears

      1. teddysalad says:

        brilliant reply

      2. Ferris Lind says:

        Exactly . Escape with reality with baby pandas.. and not face what your liberal friends are doing to this country

      3. So you WANT ill informed news. Touche

      4. tony says:

        ….,or stay on Yahoo and see,….GULP, Jennifer Anistons latest evning wear mishap! Oh the HUMANITY!

  2. mina says:

    Glad the officer caught him. Thanks, Matt Drudge, for posting this good news.

    1. Drake Jones says:

      What does ms. drudge have to do with anything? Next you’ll be boosting Howard Stern.

      1. Drudge says:

        Because no would read this rag if drudge did not link to it but a few pathetic loosers in San Francisco still nurseing offf nancy Pelosi

  3. StanM says:

    Just another “green job” (recycling) in Obama’s economy….

  4. Jim says:

    Cut his right hand off as an example to other would-be creeps

  5. BSERIUS says:

    “Fake City Worker”…..aka , public sector union member

  6. smashicus says:

    Whatever happened to posting a picture of the perp?

    1. White Cracker says:

      He’s a Mexican! We cant show he is illegal!

    2. Linda Green says:

      He was mexican. Taboo

      1. trj says:

        He was doing the jobs Americans won’t do.

  7. Mike H. says:

    So they have the receipts from where he sold the grates? How about prosecuting the buyers?

    1. White Cracker says:

      The buyers gotta know this guy was stealing from the Government!! The Buyers need to go to jail!

  8. smashicus says:

    This perp’s address is available on the internet

  9. claude says:

    then the police would have to find a new buyer for when they sell their stuff

  10. Victor B. says:

    The government steals from the people…the people steal from the government.

    1. George Johnson says:

      But um…. THIS guy was stealing from the TAXPAYERS.

      You got it all wrong. What are you ? An anarchist??

      The government steal from the people. And if you steal from them, you’re stealing from the people, the taxpayers.

    2. Dave says:

      Yes, BUT. When the government steals from the people it’s called Stimulus

  11. Jericho says:

    During the days of the robber barons the impoverished Saxons stole deer from the kings forest, the forest created by the corrupt Norman Kings and policed by their robber barons. This man like most metal thieves would certainly rather be working, instead he steals modern deer. Sherwood is getting crowded while our king and his barons continue to pillage.

    1. KansasGirl says:

      Tell me Jericho, how has “class warfare” improved your life? Also, how do you know these metal thieves would rather be working?

      1. Linda Green says:

        Spot on. Go tell them.

    2. AFSGTSAM says:

      If this piece of garbage would rather be working he would be, despite this economy there are jobs out there for those willing to get off thier lazy rear ends and take them. This person is a piece of human garbage that should be thrown away with the rest of the refuse.

  12. Geechee says:

    I thought all city workers were “fakes”.

  13. Alarmist Heaven says:

    Thanks libs, this green economy is awesome! Thanks again.

  14. George Johnson says:

    Coming to America to steal the grates Americans won’t steal.

    Just goes to show you, even without a job, it’s better here in America than that cesspool down south.

    But make no mistake, with the feds down there losing control over almost half of the country, our open border is nothing but a safety valve to keep mexico from totally imploding. Because if they did, eventually, that might mean war. So you can expect a totally open border and giving into their demands (giving the south west quadrant back to mexico) to be the order of the day for some time to come.

    1. John says:

      I was thinking the same thing.

      Coming to America to steal the grates Americans won’t steal.

  15. Bearcat says:

    Doing the work Americans won’t do.

  16. Bob says:

    It was easy to spot a fake city worker….he was actually working.

    1. Lance Newman says:

      Best comment EVER! Made me actually laugh out loud.

    2. Jameson says:

      Actually, he didn’t have six guys standing around doing nothing while he was working.

      1. Derek says:

        So that was the props they spoke of…

  17. Early Ardmore says:

    “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.”
    – Plato ———-

  18. RonnyBaby says:

    but but but, they just come here to work…….

    1. White Cracker says:

      Doing the work nobody else wants to do! Cracker Please!!!!

  19. John L says:

    With all those recycling receipts, it should be easy to bring charges against recycling plants for colluding in the processing of stolen materials.

  20. TJG says:

    Just be grateful he wasn’t armed with one of Obama’s firearms that Obama and Holder handed out to these criminals.

  21. tony says:

    Yeah, if you are envolved in criminal behavior,….at 57 years old, you CAN’T be rehabilitated! Lock this POS UP for life! Or just shoot him! This POS OBVIOUSLY doesn’t care about anyone but him self!

  22. freajt_deak says:

    Just doing the work Americans don’t want to do, save the baby pandas!

  23. luv says:

    Clearly, Gringos does not want to do this job!

  24. Ron Breckler says:

    This is just an indication on how bad the economy truly is, it is indications of the decay of our civilization indicate where telephone lines and power lines are valued for the metallic content and not the purpose they serve in supporting our society. Don’t get me wrong, we must throw the book at these petty thieves who steal out of need and the lack of opportunity for better jobs. Sadly, the work they’re willing to put forth to steal these metals at one time would be enough to earn them a job in some industry. Thanks to the EPA and the over regulations, no manufacturing can be performed in America without onerous cost and over regulation. Until we roll back the senseless rules and allow our children a opportunity to produce instead of just consume America is on a course for failure.

    1. tony says:

      Sadly, very well put.

    2. trj says:

      SO TRUE! As the economy worsens more and more people are going to become “Criminals” just in order to survive.

  25. Trajan Long says:

    Liberals have spent the last 50 years destroying the US, and the trend may be irreversible.

  26. Angela - Indianapolis, IN (Citizen) says:

    I didn’t read anywhere in this article that this man was an “illegal” immigrant… People are so judgmental. Just because he has a foreign name, unlike, Smith, Jones, etc, you automatically assume he’s illegal… Maybe this man has a family to feed, bills to pay, medical expenses, etc. Where is the Work??? Has anyone been paying attention to ALL the thefts of recyclable materials around the whole Unites States? Copper, GUTTERS, steel, or anything that they can make money off of? Our economy is forcing Good people to beg, borrow and steal to survive… Have any of the “Judgmental” people on here put themselves in his shoes? What would you do if your family was starving? Or if you were about to live on the streets? I’m so tired of the “Divide” in this country… We are a country in ruins and all anyone can do is point fingers and judge… That in itself should be a crime.

    1. AFSGTSAM says:

      Good people…he is a thief nothing more….by the way he was driving a stolen vehicle to boot. He is not a good person he is a piece of garbage criminal who belongs in prison doing hard labor.

      1. Angela - Indianapolis, IN (Citizen) says:

        Right… Another case of “Guilty” before proven innocent… Because the Media ALWAYS have all the Facts before they post an article… So yes, of course, just go ahead and sentence him to hard labor without knowing the WHOLE story… Perfect solution!

  27. johnqlaw says:

    I can only imagine what the perp said when confronted by the arresting officer…”I don’t care about no STINKING grates!”

  28. Jon Fraud Carry says:

    A “fake” city worker would be one that is actually working. That is why the cop questioned him. The cop had never seen a city worker with an open can of paint.
    He was immediately suspicious.