Four people have been arrested for allegedly stealing 80 gallons of diesel fuel from a 7-Eleven gas station in Northeast Dallas, police said.
The alleged theft happened Wednesday at the 7-Eleven at 10400 Garland Road, near Gus Thomasson Road.
Pedro Ruiz, Alfredo Hechavarria, Lazaro Echemendia Miranda, and Betancourt Barco face charges of engaging in organized criminal activity, theft of a petroleum product, and unlawful use of a criminal instrument, according to a police news release.
The suspects were using an electronic device that allowed them to attach it to the fuel pump without the pump tracking how much gas was being pumped, police said.
The suspects used three vehicles during the theft, including a modified pickup truck, “that had been outfitted with an external fuel tank,” the press release said.
Ruiz opened the front panel of the fuel pump and installed the electronic device, police said. Hechavarria then pumped 80 gallons of fuel into one of the vehicles while the other two men served as lookouts, according to the news release.
Detectives from the police financial crimes division had been investigating the suspects for allegedly stealing diesel and re-selling it, police said. When they saw the theft happen during surveillance Wednesday, they pulled the suspects over for a traffic violation.
On Thursday, some patrons filling up at the pumps said they were shocked by the thefts and arrests, but not surprised. Gas prices have soared in recent weeks, and diesel has been the most expensive fuel grade. The average price for a gallon of diesel in Dallas hit $5.37 Tuesday, which is a new all-time record.
Some employees said the 7-Eleven location has been hit multiple times by fuel thieves.
A man named Jeff Crilley wanted to make a difference in the news business. He had watched several public relations (PR) firms fail and go away when he was working in the TV news field. He began spending time developing a new way to deliver information to the average consumer when he founded Real News PR in his garage 13 years ago.
Now, he is the CEO and has several suites in the Lincoln Center, featuring offices, several TV/radio broadcasting studios including green screen, an on-site gym, market and is attached to the Hilton Hotel in the building. Real News offers services such as podcasting, live streaming, managed live video, video productions, public relations services, and more.
His vision was to bring on a team of media experts who could “deliver publicity at the speed of news, with the purpose of delivering results instead of promises.”
His website clearly states that “We guarantee success because, unlike other Dallas PR firms, our unique approach is most effective since we speak ‘journalist.’ We work with our clients to develop stories that the media will love and in a language they understand. Paired with the team of journalists, our marketing experts build the brand and awareness that makes an impact.”
As a journalist myself, I am very aware of the failings of TV news, print, Internet, and brick-and-mortar PR firms. I usually have to basically rewrite the press releases I get because many marketing departments are in such a hurry to release information, they don’t think about how the format or content will either help or be a pain to their media destinations.
Another big issue that freelance journalists like me have is trying to find relevant topics to write about that haven’t been covered to death. Crilley personally churns out a newsletter every day called, “The Rundown,” where he posts trending topics/stories and provides contact information for experts that can help journalists. He says he has never missed a day sending “The Rundown” out in 13 years, and now it goes out to 34,000 journalists across the country.
Crilley took time out of his busy day to give me a tour of his offices and studios in Lincoln Center. As we walked and talked, he explained his thoughts on what’s going on with media in general.
“There’s a change coming in the media. Remember how thick the Dallas Morning News used to be?” Crilley asked. “These audiences are shrinking. And then you have this 13-year-old girl on YouTube with three million subscribers, and she’s showing you how to do makeup. What’s wrong with this picture? ‘Traditional’ news sites may only get 900 views, while this [young lady] is beating the CBS Evening News. You can see this division in how people get their news.
“The fact is that fake news is now actually a thing. Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather would be appalled. The news is being a little bit more overt than they ever have. They’re not even trying to be in the middle politically. We know which networks are liberal and which are conservative.
“I liken this to Blockbuster versus Netflix. There was a time when there was still a Blockbuster on every corner. Then, this pesky little bug called Netflix started buzzing around. And all they did was change the [existing] model slightly. They said, ‘If you’re going to have a date night at home on a Friday night, you could go online, rent a movie, we’ll ship it to you overnight, and it’ll be there for Friday’s date night.’ So, they changed the model slightly, making it almost effortless instead of having to drive to a video store and then getting charged for returning it late because the weather is bad or whatever.
“[Blockbuster] should have just bought Netflix and absorbed the technology, but they were very arrogant. They said people will always want to drive through sleet to go to their local Blockbuster and rent a movie. The model was changing, and they didn’t recognize it. And so, I’m saying the model for the way that information gets to consumers is changing. It used to be the CBS Evening News. Now, it’s Twitter,” Crilley said.
Real News PR has several different studios that can be used for a plethora of situations. The first studio we toured was nicknamed, “The Oprah Room” because of its ability to support commercial television projects. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a car under my chair.
“We can even Skype and Zoom people in from here. And so now this little division that started four years ago makes up more than 50% of our income, and we’re producing 92 different shows for 92 unique clients,” Crilley said.
Real News is equipped to use all kinds of backgrounds for their media productions, including the “real” backdrops through the studio windows. Some of the views are of DFW traffic, some contain a lovely fountain, and some are completely digital. Natural sunrises and sunsets are used as much as possible. Crilley and his staff often change out the contents of a studio to match the incoming guest, such as a sports theme for athletes or a library scene for academics.
“If a person wanted this to be a sports talk show, we could put a Dak Prescott jersey back there or a Cowboys helmet, a football and basketball and now it’s a sports background,” Crilley said.
“One of the features that we like is that each producer can be a part of the show, like how Howard Stern has Robin to bounce stuff off of. We could put a camera on the producer, we could put a gel against this wall so it is pretty, and then halfway through the show, I can say, ‘Let’s go to my producer Travis. What do you think about what I said?’ And he could get in a little play fight with me and argue with me. Why? Because it makes the show more entertaining,” Crilley explained.
They also have a studio with a green screen background that could be made into anything.
“If I want the capitol in the background, all I have to do is go to YouTube and search for ‘capitol’ and defocus it so it’s soft in the background. There’s only one thing that can be in focus, which is either the subject or the background. So, if we focus on stuff going on outside the window in real-time, it’s very soft in the background. You see some traffic. You see clouds moving. I could put a little fan in here to make your hair blow…the options are endless. But the focus is always on the interviewer and guest,” Crilley explained.
Of course, Crilley is not the only employee. He has been fortunate enough to recruit a solid, hardworking team of men and women who take care of different parts of Real News. The company is also expanding.
Crilley and I went up to the 7th floor, where we were greeted by plastic wrap on the floor.
“This is just for us,” he said. It wasn’t red, but it still stood for status in my eyes because we were entering the future of Real News PR.
“The reason we like this space upstairs on the 7th floor is that with the perspective up here, the shot gets more majestic,” Crilley said. “And as you can see, there’s tons of more space.”
Once the buildout is done, all of the studios and offices will move from the 2nd to the 7th floor, allowing for much more room for all, as well as more room for expansion.
My thanks go out to CEO Jeff Crilley for taking time out of his busy day to show me around.
On Thursday, July 22, the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority (MATA) will celebrate 32 years of streetcar service to Dallas residents, businesses, and visitors.
In 1983, MATA was founded to return heritage streetcars to the urban fabric of Dallas. Two Dallas residents, Phil Cobb and Ed Landrum, began championing the idea after discovering tracks on McKinney Avenue that had been paved over and forgotten. On July 22, 1989, the McKinney Avenue Trolley celebrated the grand opening of its 2.8-mile route.
The M-Line has expanded several times over the years, eventually reaching a total of 4.6 miles in length. The first expansion opened in 2002, extending the route north to connect to DART’s Cityplace/Uptown Station, followed by the construction of a turntable in 2011. The second expansion opened in 2015, creating the southern loop in downtown Dallas that connects riders to the DART’s St. Paul Station.
Currently served by seven vintage cars, the M-Line trolley provides more than 600,000 rides every year within Uptown and Downtown Dallas. You can learn more about the M-Line Trolley and the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority at http://www.mata.org/.
“The maroon/burgundy Chrysler 200 with a paper tag exited onto Valley View Lane and the white 4-door BMW followed. The driver of the white BMW pulled in front of the Chrysler, exited his vehicle on Valley View and began shooting at the Chrysler 200,” police said. “Thankfully, no one was hit, but several vehicles, including an occupied vehicle, were struck by gunfire.”
Road rage violence has become such a concern in Dallas that the police department is increasing law enforcement presence on freeways and will act against drivers caught committing aggressive acts.
A police spokesman said Thursday that over the last year, there have been 445 violent offenses motivated by road rage. The department does not have any data from before 2021, the spokesman said.
Last month, a pregnant woman in Dallas was shot after her boyfriend got into a dispute with another driver near Great Trinity Forest Way and Murdoch Road. Police said that the woman was struck once and that her baby was successfully delivered at a hospital.
Police said in a statement last month that “aggressive driving has become commonplace” and often leads to violence on the roadway.
“Many police departments across the country are seeing an uptick in road rage incidents. Dallas area highways have become increasingly congested and dangerous with more vehicles traveling at high speeds and more road-rage incidents being reported,” the police department said.
“Typically these types of behaviors lead to a road rage incident,” the spokesperson said.
The Lincoln Police Department in Nebraska said the number of violent road rage incidents has risen by more than 200 percent this year compared to last year. The police department said in a Facebook post that a majority of the recent cases involved guns and threats.
Authorities in Georgia have reported the same. WSB-TV reported that the Atlanta Police Department said most of the road rage violence it responds to involves gunfire.
In Fort Worth, authorities have increased efforts to target motorists who speed or drive recklessly, a spokesperson said Thursday.
A recent incident in Doraville, about 16 miles from Atlanta, involved a woman identified as Carmen Lee, 25, who was fatally shot while driving on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. Authorities said they believe she was the unintended victim of a road rage attack and made a public plea last month for information that would help solve the killing.
Calm your mind and experience classical music in a new light with these sensational concerts in some of Dallas’s most magical locations. This concert series known simply as “Candlelight” invites everyone to relive the greatest works of classical music, from Vivaldi to Mozart to Bach, in an intimate atmosphere.
The late Ann Richards served as governor of Texas from 1991 to 1995, gracing us with multiple memorable one-liners. Heck, she was even the subject of a Broadway play — Ann, by Holland Taylor, who also stars as Ann Richards.
Now, downtown Dallas is paying tribute to the late, great Ann. No fewer than 60 “Ann Banners” have been installed along Main, Akard and Young streets, no farther than a bouffant and a can of hairspray from City Hall. The artwork shows 12 designs featuring photos and quotes from the one-of-a-kind Texas governor.
Here are some of our favorite “Annisms” as depicted on the banners:
Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, she just did it backwards and in high heels.
Cherish your friends and family as if your life depended on it, because it does.
Teaching is the hardest work I have ever done, including being governor.
I get a lot of cracks about my hair, mostly from men who don’t have any.
You can put lipstick on a pig and call it Monique, but it is still a pig.
Margaret Justus, who worked as Gov. Richards’ deputy press secretary from 1989 to 1994, tells us the art project, “would not have happened had it not been for the pandemic. Normally, we folks who worked for the governor and loved her would have gathered in person to celebrate the 30th year” — meaning the 30th anniversary of Richards’ inauguration as governor — “but this year, it was impossible.”
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and Dallas Park and Recreation will host the annual Older Americans Month Celebration Drive-Thru event on Friday, May 21, from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. To ensure the safety of everyone and enforce social distancing, this year’s celebration will be a drive-thru event with three locations to choose from:
Singing Hills Recreation Center, 6805 Patrol Way, Dallas, TX 75241
Samuell Grand Recreation Center, 6200 East Grand Avenue, Dallas 75223
Campbell Green Recreation Center, 16600 Park Hill Drive, Dallas 75248
This year’s theme is Communities of Strength. Older adults have built resilience and strength over their lives through successes, failures, joys, and difficulties. Their stories and contributions help to support and inspire others. There are many things we all can do to nurture ourselves, reinforce our strength, and continue to thrive. Connecting with others is one of the most important—it plays a vital role in our health and well-being, and in that of our communities.
DART and Dallas Park and Recreation are partnering to host the event along our community partners including the City of Dallas, the Dallas Police Department, the Area Agency on Aging, The Senior Source, the Community Council of Greater Dallas, and Baylor Scott and White Health and Wellness at Junita J. Craft Recreation Center. Media partners include Al Día, fyi 50+, NBCDFW.com Channel 5, Seniors BlueBook, Seniorific.com, Telemundo 39 and The Dallas Morning News.
Giveaways are available on a first come, first serve basis for this free event.
The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) South Dallas GoLink program, an on-demand, personalized, curb-to-curb service for areas around South Dallas and Fair Park, begins its six-month pilot program on Monday, April 26.
Working with the South Dallas/Fair Park (SDFP) Transportation Initiative group, a survey of 200 residents within ZIP codes 75210 and 75215 was completed that identified concerns that the pilot demonstration hopes to rectify.
Through the survey, the SDFP group noted that the South Dallas-Fair Park neighborhood has extensive bus and rail service, but that bus travel within the neighborhood can be difficult for very short trips, particularly to the recreation center and grocery stores. The area is currently served by four DART rail stations, MLK, Jr. Station, Fair Park Station, Hatcher Station and Cedars Station, as well as 10 bus routes.
Already available in Western Carrollton, Farmers Branch, Southeast Garland, Glenn Heights, Inland Port, South Irving, Kleberg/Rylie, Lake Highlands, Lakewood, North Dallas, Park Cities, Legacy West, Far North Plano, North Central Plano/Chase Oaks and Rowlett, the GoLink pilot for South Dallas and Fair Park will cost $50,000, includes one dedicated accessible taxi supplemented by an Uber Pool and covers an 8.5-sq. mile area.
The stores will open flagship H-E-B stores in Plano and Frisco in the fall of next year.
The company’s Central Market stores have been in the DFW area since 2001, and H-E-B stores have been built in nearby communities like Burleson, Hudson Oaks, Granbury, and Waxahachie.
But actual H-E-B stores haven’t been available to shoppers in Dallas-Fort Worth.
“This is an exciting day as we share plans to expand our presence in the DFW market with the introduction of H-E-B, our flagship banner, to our growing network of stores,” said Stephen Butt, President – Central Market Division of H-E-B. “For the past 20 years, Central Market has been committed to earning customers’ trust, and H-E-B Partners will work hard to earn the confidence of the many new shoppers we look forward to serving in the Plano and Frisco communities.”
H-E-B will open one store in Frisco at the northeast corner of Legacy Dr. and Main St., and one store in Plano at the southwest corner of Preston Rd. and Spring Creek Parkway.
Additional details about the new stores will be shared at the groundbreakings, which are projected for this summer.