As a young dad with one son and another child on the way, Juan Marquez is always thinking about protecting his family.
That’s why when they broke down on Highway 99 in Stockton last fall, accepting help from someone who looked reliable seemed like the best way to get wife Jasmine and 2-year-old Zeno out of the danger zone.
“The guy comes off really friendly, really seemed professional. First thing he said was ‘ get over here…don’t be on that side of the road,” said Marquez.
With Zeno in mind, Marquez handed over all the money he had on him, one $50 bill, to the helper.
That helper promised he would go get parts and return because…
“He was working for the highway patrol and his name was Bernie. On his jumpsuit is said Bernie,” said Marquez.
“Once I found out that he had just taken off with our money I was very upset,” said Jasmine Marquez.
Now, thanks to reports on FOX40, the Marquezes know the only CHP-sanctioned highway helpers will be in clearly marked trucks like these.
Not like the green Camry the supposed CHP -mechanic pulled up in that night.
Marquez said he called 911 to report the hoax that night – but no one showed up.
He also claims subsequent calls didn’t get returned.
He and his wife feel as many as 25 other drivers wouldn’t have been victimized if someone had listened three months ago.
And there’s this…
“If he had the audacity to steal from a family in trouble, what else could he have done? Could he have had a weapon in the car? I’m trying to think about the safety of my child, said Jasmine.
At FOX40’s request, the CHP is taking a look at old reports to see what may have happened to the Marquezes calls.
The suspect they’ve identified this month thanks to other drivers targeted still not under arrest as their investigation continues.