3 ON YOUR SIDE (3TV) - When 3 On Your Side came across an SUV sitting in a Tucson parking lot, we had an idea a guy named Alberto Santacruz wasn't in the driver's seat, but the back seat.

[WATCH: Phoenix woman puts money down for food truck, never receives it]

"Can you please turn that (camera) off please?" the unidentified driver asks as 3 On Your Side approaches the vehicle.

"Can you turn that off?" the man asks again.

But, exactly what brought 3 On Your Side to this Tucson parking lot in the first place?

A Phoenix woman named Amber Clark did.

"That's our pastrami sandwich," Clark says as she shows 3 On Your Side pictures of some of the food she prepares for catering. "That's actually an 8-ounce sandwich."

Clark is in the catering industry and wanted to expand her business by buying a food truck. So, back in November of last year, she got on her phone and came across a Tucson company called Santacruz Food Trucks. The business piqued Clark's interest, causing her to hop into her car and drive down to Tucson to take a look.

"Santacruz Food Trucks?" 3 On Your Side's Gary Harper asked her of the business. "You decided to do business with them?"

"Yes," she replied.

Santacruz Food Trucks, run by a guy named Santacruz, drew up a contract indicating he would build Clark a food truck and needed just over $12,000 to get started.

Clark made two payments totaling $12,600.

But seven months later, there's no truck and no communication.

"Have they stopped talking to you?" Harper asked her.

"Yeah," she replied. "I messaged them like a month ago, saying I just want my money back at this point."

"And what do they say?" Harper asked.

"There's no response," she said.

3 On Your Side traveled to Tucson looking for answers. But, Santacruz Food Trucks had already moved from its rural location.

However, we did notice a few food trucks left behind. After visiting other locations where the business used to be, we discovered they had set up shop on Nogales Highway. And it's here where we ran into another alleged victim named Zayra Felix. She was also here looking for answers.

In Spanish, Zayra tells 3 On Your Side that she paid Santacruz Food Trucks $25,000 in cash to fabricate a food trailer. But a month later, she doesn't have it, and she's worried.

That's when 3 On Your Side found out Santacruz Food Trucks is in the process of moving to yet another location located just five minutes away.

So, we head on over to that location, and that's where we find Santacruz, the owner, sitting in the back of an SUV.

"Oh, there's Alberto," Harper says as Santacruz climbs out of the back seat.

"I'm Gary Harper from 3 On Your Side," Harper tells him. "Hey Alberto, can I talk to you about this nice lady here named Zayra Felix? She gave you $25,000."

Visibly nervous, Santacruz explains to 3 On Your Side that he'll have Felix's food trailer ready in two weeks and to not be concerned.

As for Clark, the original woman we came to talk to Santacruz about, he has a different story.

"It just looks a little concerning that Amber Clark gave you a lot of money, and she has nothing. And then this nice lady Zayra," Harper asks before Santacruz interrupts.

"OK," Santacruz shouts. "So, I just got moved here."

"I'm not criminal. I'm not criminal," he yells.

He never does explain why he took over $12,000 from Clark and failed to build a truck. But he does say he'll return all over her money in four weekly installments.

Clark says she'll believe it when she sees the first payment from Santacruz and his so-called food truck company.

"What can they possibly be thinking that I'm thinking?" Clark asks inquisitively. "Like I'm just going to let them have my money and not get a truck?"

That first weekly $3,100 payment is supposed to be submitted this week by Santacruz. But will he live up to his promise? 3 On Your Side will stay on top of it, and we'll let you know what happens in a follow-up news report.

Gary Harper's 3 On Your Side reports air weeknights on 3TV News at 9.


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.



Recommended for you

(18) comments


They should have filed their complaints with the Arizona Attorney Generals office. They handle consumer complaints such as this.


Company is listed on the Arizona Corporation Commission. "Active and In Good Standing" means no one has filed a complaint, YET. Get a contract in writing with detailed description of the job to be done, when it will be done, and the cost. I would recommend progress payment schedule based upon stages of completion. If your contractor won't agree to it, you'll be taking the bigger risk. A reputable company will make enough profit on past jobs to cover costs of future projects until payments are made. Both contractor and contractee should evaluate each other's risk to ensure the project will be completed and payments made.


Why is Santacruz not in jail for grand theft? Oh yes - he is protected by the sanctuary laws. BUILD THE WALL.


Would you kindly cite the "sanctuary laws that provide criminal immunity in your opinion? Or do it unkindly. You say stuff that's not factual, Dean. In empirically evident reality they, arrest, jail and then deport criminals who are not citizens, right? But what do they do with purveyors of falsehoods. They let them post here, for one thing. That too is verifiable.


Dont do business with Mexicans....DUH

Tony G

We don't listen to nut sacks, DUH! Stereotypical BS from the empty Nut Shell.

TRUMP supporter

Thank you Gary Harper for helping these people .


I agree, she should have spoke to him in English.


I would never eat food from a food truck. Gross!!!!

Tony G

Not all the food trucks are that bad. All you have to do is look at the truck, the help and the condition of the food. You run risks just as high eating at McDonald's, Denny's or Burger King.


They are legally considered restaurants, have to meet restaurant standards, and their inspection reports are available online from Maricopa County Environmental Services, as with restaurants. Don't trash these unfortunate entrepreneurs- they're trying to make an honest living by investing in something. They want to work hard just like perhaps few of the commenters here might.

Paul Labiche

Santacruzs' father, SantaClause is listed as the business owner and santacruzs' wife, Santamaria is the CFO. What could go wrong? I have no problem with stupid, gullible people being taken to the cleaners. Look at el vieto buitro, would you fork over 12 grand to him?


You mean ‘grande pendejo ‘.


Now now theres some sensitive Sally's that post here also and get there panties in a twist if you say something true!!!! Just be careful because the brown little poop stain is justified in stealing money....


awhhhhh cmon! Poor guy traveled all the way from heIl-on-earth to live the American dream. He is all by himself, using only the shirt on his back to build these amazing machines. he just needs some time!! ;)


The "dreams" always end up as nightmares.....get the wall built ASAP!


76% of immigrants are here legally- Pew Research Center.

Big Rich

"And then this nice lady Zayra," Harper asks before being Santacruz interrupts."..........who WRITES this stuff? Have they no editors?...No one proof reads anything? This is today's journalism.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.