Police say 44-year-old Joe Henry Leonardo Sr. was caught siphoning more than 500 gallons of diesel from Ripon High School.
The fuel is used for the district school bus fleet. Leonardo was driving a Dodge Ram 3500 pickup truck when he accessed the gas by driving up an access road near a railroad track, positioning his car behind the diesel holding tanks.
Leonardo had an advanced setup, police say. He made a homemade generator and used industrial tubing to siphon the gas.
If he would have gotten away, he would have taken with him one week worth of bus fuel for the district, costing around $2,250.
Leonardo was booked into the San Joaquin County Jail on a felony count of grand theft. The school is also looking into the possibility that this wasn’t the first time Leonardo stole gas from the school.