Food

Man Steals $1.2 Million In Fajitas, And Now I'm Suddenly Starving

Could fajitas be the best food ever? They're definitely in the running. The things I would do to eat a plate of fajitas right now...

One man decided he no longer wanted to pay for the Mexican treat, so he resorted to stealing as much as he could. His plan had been working, too. But one slip up got him caught.

"If it wasn't so serious, you'd think it was a Saturday Night Live skit. But this is the real thing," District Attorney Luis V. Saenz said.

Gilberto Escaramilla, who at the time was employed by the Texas juvenile justice department, was running a black market for fajitas out of his office for over nine years.

"He would literally, on the day he ordered them, deliver them to customers he had already lined up," Saenz said. "We've been able to uncover two of his purchasers, and they are cooperating with the investigation."

But what finally got him caught after 9 years of successful fajita-laundering? And what exactly do your charge a fajita thief with?

Escaramilla took a day off work for a medical appointment, but he forgot to notify his supplier he wouldn't be here. A driver from Labatt Food Service in Harlingen, the Juvenile Justice Department's meat vendor, called the kitchen to inform it of an 800-pound delivery of fajitas. The woman who answered the call was confused, seeing as the kitchen doesn't serve fajitas. The driver proceeded to tell her he's been delivering them to this address for nine years.

"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," Saenz said. "When Mr. Escamilla reports to work the next day, he is confronted with the discussion and he admits he had been stealing fajitas for nine years."

When they first started investigating Escaramilla's crime, the value of the order had been between $2,500 and $30,000, which is a state jail felony. But the DA's office didn't think it stopped there. After some more investigation, it was determined that Escaramilla had stolen $1,251,578 worth of fajitas. His charge was upgraded to a first-degree theft felony.

"He would literally, on the day he ordered them, deliver them to customers he had already lined up," Saenz said. "We've been able to uncover two of his purchasers, and they are cooperating with the investigation."

"The Juvenile Justice Department is working closely with the Auditor's Office to institute procedures, controls and safeguards to avoid a recurrence of this type of situation. The Department expects that wrongdoers will be punished and assures that procedures and protocols have been established," Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Rose Gomez said. "The Department will continue to strive to provide necessary and appropriate care, custody and protection of those juveniles in its custody as well as protection of public moneys (sic)."

Saenz says this should have been caught sooner, and the fact that it wasn't is a "total failure."

"Up and down the chain of authority, people were signing off on these things," Saenz said. "It's upsetting because the auditor gets a detailed invoice where it states the breakdown of what's delivered, so they should've seen it. What do you tell the taxpayers? What do you tell the housewife and the blue collar worker that pay their county taxes, when paying their taxes takes a big bite out of their paycheck? How do you explain that? They've got the right to be upset. It is upsetting."

Would you buy fajitas off the black market?

Meagan has an intense love for Netflix, napping, and carbs.