Authorities have arrested a man they say was stealing propane tanks from Beaumont businesses.
Officers found 120 stolen tanks around 1 p.m. Friday. Garin Gutierrez was arrested just before 5 p.m. Friday at the Budget Inn in the 5300 block of College Street in Beaumont.
Officers took Gutierrez into custody on a parole violation, but after he was arrested he confessed to stealing the propane tanks. Gutierrez led police to where the tanks were stored.
The tanks were stored at a business at Washington and S. 11th Street.
Police say Gutierrez sold the propane tanks to support his drug habit.
Police had been investigating the propane tank theft for nearly five weeks and got a break when they say Gutierrez was caught on surveillance video during a theft on June 30 at the Caldwood Food Mart located at 55 E. Caldwood. Officers released still images taken from the video to the media.
The photos show a man loading several propane tanks into what appears to be a red or maroon four-door vehicle. The vehicle appears to have damage to the back left quarter panel and previous surveillance video shows it may be, or was missing, a front right hubcap.
By July 3 the number of stolen tanks had topped 200.
The thefts had resulted in extra patrols near stores which sell propane.
Other businesses from which Gutierrez is believed to have stolen tanks include various Dollar General Stores, Market Basket Stores, and CVS Stores in Beaumont's south and west ends.