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Tulare businesses team up to stop thief who asks to use restroom

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Surveillance video shows bold theft inside Tulare tax business (KFSN)

The deadline to file taxes is just two days away. Which means Herminio Quadros Income Tax in Tulare is a busy place. Quadros admits he Tower Square area of downtown has issues with transients.

"But this is also our best place to have business," Quadros said.

Unfortunately for Quadros, it's also a popular place for a man who has ripped him off before in a bold way.

Surveillance video from September shows 33-year-old Manuel Renteria stealing a purse and cell phone from one of Quadros' employees-- while they're in a meeting just a few feet away. Tulare Police arrested Renteria, a man they say they've dealt with plenty before.

A few months later, Quadros says Renteria returned to their new offices, on the day of their move. Quadros says Renteria told him he hadn't learned his lesson.

"Anybody who steals they know what they're doing, they're stealing, and they're not dumb, they're not crazy," Quadros said.

Last month, Quadros says Renteria paid them a visit again, asking to use the bathroom.

"I came out (of my office), and I told him to leave immediately," Quadros said.

Renteria became apologetic when Quadros told him he was calling police.
Quadros says Renteria came back later that day and urinated on their kitchen floor.

"It's a shame," said neighboring business owner Phil Vandegrift.

Vandegrift says Renteria stole a client's valuable laptop from a filing cabinet after convincing a woman to let him use the bathroom. Vandegrift says Renteria came back another day, asking for the bathroom again.

"It's the same scenario," Vandegrift said. "'I want to use your restroom.' 'Nope we're not doing that because we've got some wrong people come in and then things come up missing.' He says, 'I didn't ever take a computer.'"

Now, Tower Square businesses are teaming up, ready to take matters into their own hands should Renteria show up again.

"I would lock the door, I would trap him inside, because now I have people that can help me, he wouldn't harm," Quadros said.

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