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DENVER (KDVR) — A Denver community is connecting the dots with surveillance video after several families became victims to a group of thieves in a recent overnight crime spree.

At the corner of 14th Avenue and Leyden Street, Cesar Diaz turned his dream of owning a mechanic shop and gas station into a reality.

“Since childhood, I’ve been saving,” Diaz said. “I’ve loved mechanics since I was a little kid, so I found this place and I invest all my money, my time.”

Diaz is now having to spend his precious time and money fending off criminals who aren’t afraid of surveillance cameras or alarms. Videos shared with FOX31 from May 5 show people in masks breaking into his bathrooms.

“That time, they took fingerprints and stuff,” Diaz said. “But they wore masks, they got gloves and stuff, so it’s really hard to tell who it was.”

Then, days ago, surveillance captured clearer images of bolder crooks.

“They have a big rock and they smashed the window to the bottom, and it’s a tempered glass,” Diaz said. 

Surveillance image showing a person reach over to the cash register in a gas station
At the corner of 14th Avenue and Lyden Street, Cesar Diaz turned his dream of owning a mechanic shop and gas station into a reality. But thieves broke in and damaged the place. (Courtesy of Cesar Diaz)

Video shared with FOX31 from Mother’s Day morning shows a set of thieves breaking down the door with a big rock. Once the masked man gets inside, he rummages through the cash register and finds no cash. The first crook takes off with a few packs of cigarettes and rolling papers. 

A female accomplice is captured taking her pick from the convenience section of the shop. 

“The female went after the groceries, like she grabs like chips and toilet paper napkins and all kinds of stuff,” Diaz said. “The damage cost way more than what they actually took.”

Damage is one thing for Diaz, but the emotional impact costs more. 

“It’s more heartbreaking because my mom is here, my sister, my cousins and, you know, I don’t know what’s going to happen next,” Diaz said. 

Videos help connect the case to other victims

Diaz posted screenshots of the latest break-in on the Nextdoor app and immediately, nearby community members shared their pain.

“I can see my car in footage, the back window showed I had a Texas sticker, so it’s pretty recognizable,” Amanda Amacker said.

Amacker is a mother of five children. She and her husband Kenneth rely on their car as a main source of income. They drive Uber and personal shop to provide for their children.

“I wake up to her bawling her eyes out on Mother’s Day,” Kenneth Amacker said. “This is horrible. It’s horrible.”

Amacker compared the timestamps on the footage capturing thieves stealing her car on Mother’s Day morning to the break-in and theft at the gas station. 

“The gas station footage was like two hours almost to the dot after they stole our car,” Amacker said.

The Amackers and Diazes hope this crime spree can stop with some help from the community. They ask anyone who recognizes the thieves to send in a tip to Metro Denver Crime Stoppers. 

“That would mean a lot to me because it will protect my family, that will protect all their families around,” Diaz said. “If they were able to do that without no harm or anything like that, they could do just anything to anybody and no respect for anybody.”

Amacker’s car is a black 2016 Kia Soul with a Texas sticker on the back window. She had a Texas license plate on the car, but it is unclear if the criminals have gotten rid of it since stealing her vehicle.

Any tip can be sent anonymously to Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.