WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The arrest of a suspected car thief is serving as another reminder to drivers not to leave their cars running or keys in the ignition while running into the store to pay for gas.
A man police think has stolen numerous vehicles at gas pumps while the owners go inside the store is arrested after police recognize his description and remember his usual method.
Matthew Drullinger, 35, so far has charges of theft of over $2,500 for four separate vehicle thefts in less than a month.
The latest theft occurred Monday, April 5, At the 7-Eleven in the 2000 block of Grant.
The victim said it was his loaner vehicle from a dealer. He said when he came out of the store, he saw a man getting in the vehicle at the fuel pumps who drove off before he could stop him.
Police said the description and details made them think of Drullinger, a suspect in other similar thefts.
They showed the victim a photo lineup and he picked out Drullinger.
Two days before this, a woman had her Dodge Ram truck stolen from the 7-Eleven in the 2100 block of Central Freeway.
Surveillance video showed the owner leaving the truck running to go inside and a man gets in the truck and drives off.
On March 14, Drullinger got his first charge when three men called police and said they had a man detained on Avenue C who had just stolen a truck at the Stripes on Broad.
When police arrived, they found Drullinger with a ripped-up shirt and three men yelling at him.
One of the men said his girlfriend had called him to tell him her grandfather’s truck had just been stolen when he went inside to pay for gas.
They began driving around and spotted it parked on Avenue C with Drullinger digging through the back seats.
They said when they confronted him he took off running and they chased him down.
Police said Drullinger admitted to stealing the truck.
After his arrest, Drullinger was also charged with the theft of a car from the 7-Eleven in the 1200 block of Central Freeway. Police said the driver left it running while he went in the store and it was gone when he came out.
That car was recovered after a tip from an informant.
Police said they also got fingerprints from one stolen vehicle that match Drullinger’s.
Drullinger has three previous arrests for burglaries, including one he was convicted of in which he and another man broke into Drullinger’s stepmother’s house and stole a bank bag full of jewelry.