Santa Ana police officers chip in, buy equipment for gardener whose tools, truck were stolen

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- When thieves stole a gardener's truck containing all of his tools, Santa Ana police officers stepped in and went above and beyond the call of duty.

The gardener was at his first job of the day near the area of Bristol Street and Memory Lane on Wednesday, police said. He had left about $1,000 in cash in his truck, for his rent, as well as all of his gardening equipment.

That truck was stolen by two suspects - a man and a woman.

The gardener's phone was in the truck too. So police used a "Find my Phone" tracker to locate the culprits and arrest them in Garden Grove. They were identified as Alan Babauta, 22, and Caroline Nguyen, 31.
Alan Babauta, 22, and Caroline Nguyen, 31, are seen in booking photos from the Santa Ana Police Department.

Alan Babauta, 22, and Caroline Nguyen, 31, are seen in booking photos from the Santa Ana Police Department.


The suspects each had $500 in their pockets, but they claimed it was their money and refused to give it back. Also, all of the gardening tools were gone from the truck.

So, Santa Ana police took up a collection and were able to raise $500 from a handful of officers. Their union also kicked in, providing another $500.

With the money raised, the officers took the gardener to Home Depot, which also pitched in $100 to buy the gardener new tools!
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