Usually you hear about a thief stealing $1.2 million in money, jewelry, or drugs. However, a 53-year-old man in Texas was busted for stealing $1.2 million in fajitas. That's right, fajitas. He's the Walter White of Mexican food. As District Attorney Luis V. Saenz told The Brownsville Herald, "If it wasn't so serious, you'd think it was a Saturday Night Live skit. But this is the real thing."
Gilberto Escamilla pulled off this heist over the course of nine years. If only he would have stopped at eight! Here's how the scheme worked: Escamilla was employed at the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, and placed massive orders for fajitas, charging them to the detention center. Then he personally intercepted the orders and delivered the tasty tortillas to his own clientele. For almost a decade, nobody noticed what he was doing.
However, one day Escamilla missed work to go to a medical appointment, and that's when it all came crumbling down. During his absence, a driver from the food service called Texas Juvenile Justice Department to verify the order for 800 pounds of fajitas. The employee was confused, since the facility don't serve fajitas, and figured the order was a mistake. The driver replied that it couldn't be mistake, since he had making this delivery for over a decade.
"The receiver of the call rushes off to the supervisor and conveys to her the discussion that had been had, and that breaks the case," said District Attorney Saenz. The next day, Escamilla reported for work, and was confronted about his crimes (boy, did he pick the wrong day for a medical appointment). The fajita thief confessed to his crimes, got fired from his job, and was placed under arrest.
When police officers searched his home, they discovered that his refrigerator was full of county-funded fajitas. After combing through his inventory, as well as the invoices from the food service, they concluded that he stole an incredible $1,251,578 worth of food. It turns out the fajitas sold fast. "He would literally, on the day he ordered them, deliver them to customers he had already lined up," explained Saenz.
In court, Escamilla waved his right to trial, and tearfully pled guilty to theft by a public servant. "It was selfish," the 53-year-old testified. "It started small and got bigger and out of control. It got to the point where I couldn’t control it anymore." Judge J Manuel Banales, who has an epic walrus mustache, sentenced him to 50 years in jail. The crime may sounded like a Saturday Night Live skit, but the punishment was not funny.
The Juvenile Justice Department says they will be implementing new 'procedures, controls and safeguards' to ensure that this crime doesn't happen again. It's pretty surprising that one of their employees got away with ordering 800 pounds of fajitas for a nine years. It's also surprising the man didn't quit while he was still ahead. I suppose committing a crime is a bit like eating a delicious fajita. After you try it once, you can't stop.