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12/6/2019 7:27:02 PM
Posted: 6/3/2008 4:15:16 PM EST
Anyone else? FYI, I don't know how wide-spread this is...

Linky

Mechanics, police say gas theft changing with times
By JEFF KAROUB
AP Business Writer

Posted: May. 27, 2008
Updated: May. 29, 2008

DETROIT — Dale Fortin is getting a new kind of customer at his Detroit auto repair shop, customers who have not just been in a fender-bender or had a windshield smashed by a rock.

The soaring price of crude oil has turned gas tanks into a cache of valuable booty, and Fortin has replaced several tanks punctured or drilled by thieves thirsting for the nearly $4-a-gallon fuel inside.

"That's the new fad," said the co-owner of Dearborn Auto Tech in Detroit. "I'd never seen it before gas got up this high."

While gas station drive-offs and siphoning are far more common methods of stealing gas, reports of tank and line puncturing are starting to trickle into police departments and repair shops across the country.

Some veteran mechanics and law enforcement officers say it's an unwelcome return of a crime they first saw during the Middle East oil embargo of the early 1970s.

Gasoline prices surged just before the long Memorial Day holiday weekend and crept a hair higher overnight Monday to a new record national average $3.937 for a gallon of regular, according to a survey of stations by AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.

Given their height, Fortin said pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles are more vulnerable to the thieves who puncture the tanks and use a container to catch the fuel.

Plastic tanks are typically the target, he said, since there is less chance of a catastrophic spark, and they are easier to drill into.

A design change may also be contributing to the preference for a drill rather than a syphoning hose. The tanks in many vehicles now have check balls, which prevent spills in a rollover accident. They also make siphoning more difficult.

In recent weeks, police in Denver arrested two suspects in connection with about a dozen cases of damaging tanks and stealing gas.

Denver Police Det. John White sees this "new way of siphoning gas" as a bigger problem.

"What made this particular method so dangerous and concerning for us was the way in which they were doing it - using cordless drills to puncture holes in these tanks," he said of the rash of cases his department has investigated this spring. "The heat, friction generated could have easily sparked a fire. It just made for a dangerous situation for the suspects and the community."

Tank puncturing has yet to reach the radar screens of law enforcement organizations such as the National Sheriffs' Association, or the Automotive Service Association, a group that represents independent garage operators.

Still, at least one insurance company has taken notice: AAA Mid-Atlantic issued a press release earlier this month that cited a case in April in Bethesda, Md., involving a thief who broke the fuel line underneath a car and sapped five gallons of gas. Montgomery County police said a bus in the same parking lot had 30 gallons of diesel stolen.

"These are crimes of opportunity," said AAA spokeswoman Catherine Rossi. "Right now, some people think that stealing gas is a way to get rich quick. It becomes a question of whether you're leaving yourself open to the possibility that someone can get to your car without being seen."

The cost of replacing a metal tank on passenger vehicles is between $300 and $400, and the plastic tank common on newer vehicles would be at least $500.

Bruce Burnham said thieves have hit the Budget Truck Rental business he owns in Shreveport, La., about a half-dozen times in the past three years. The thefts started shortly after Hurricane Katrina when prices spiked, then stopped for a while, then restarted about a year ago.

In some cases the gas lines have been cut; in others, gas has been pumped out. He figures he's lost at least a few thousand dollars in stolen fuel, repair costs and loss of rental fees.

Burnham said he has taken "extra measures to protect the vehicles," but declined to elaborate.

Gas and diesel aren't the only fuels being plundered. Restaurants from Berkeley, Calif., to Sedgwick, Kan., are reporting thefts of old cooking oil worth thousands of dollars. Cooking oil rustlers refine it into barrels of biofuel in backyard stills. Biodiesel can also be blended with petroleum diesel, and blends of the alternative fuel are now sold at 1,400 gas stations across the country.

Still, the theft of regular unleaded gasoline - the kind that leaves everyday drivers high and dry - is on the minds of more law enforcement agencies as prices rise.

Troy Police Lt. Gerry Scherlinck said his suburban Detroit department this month received a report of a stored motor home whose tank was siphoned and drained of 50 gallons of gas. They also had several incidents last year in industrial parks where the gas tanks of vehicles were punctured.

"Gas is liquid gold these days, and has been for the last year-and-a-half," Scherlinck said. "I would anticipate seeing more of these kinds of incidents as the price continues to go up."
Link Posted: 6/3/2008 4:19:27 PM EST
I had 4 nato cans full of gas stolen last week, Now they will have to cut the logging chain to get the rest that is if they can get thru the mine field
Link Posted: 6/3/2008 4:23:28 PM EST
heard about this on one of the morning talk shows. another method of theft i read about was thieves stealing your license plate, putting it on their car the filling up and running at the gas station. the video camera records your license plate and the please come a calling. obviously it would be easy to compare your car w/ the car in the video that drove off, hopefully you don't have the same type of vehicle.
Link Posted: 6/3/2008 4:25:03 PM EST
I had no idea it had got this bad. I remember reading this weeks ago in the paper... and storing it in the back of my mind. I went out and bought 5 fuel storage tanks (6 gals.) each of gas 3.45$ per gal (when it was that cheap!). I regret not posting what I read about rising gas prices and I wanted to warn others here on SF. Guilt...
Link Posted: 6/3/2008 4:25:25 PM EST
Here in NE Ohio, there was a story a little while ago about a group driving to gas stations with an enclosed car hauler in tow. Inside the hauler, there was a set-up that allowed access to the fill vents, and they were pumping gas out of the station pumps, and into tanks in the trailer.
Link Posted: 6/3/2008 4:30:17 PM EST
Fill vents??? Station pumps??? What the hell is happening to America? I wasn't around during the "oil crisis" of the 70's, and maybe I still have innocence... but WTF??
Link Posted: 6/3/2008 5:05:04 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/3/2008 5:05:31 PM EST by Jamess67]
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Link Posted: 6/3/2008 7:23:36 PM EST

Originally Posted By Jamess67:
.



I totally agree.
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 4:51:14 AM EST

Originally Posted By rusteerooster:
I had 4 nato cans full of gas stolen last week, Now they will have to cut the logging chain to get the rest that is if they can get thru the mine field



Ahh Rooster, that sucks, sorry to hear that... But, I think I'll get another chain and alock and string the chain through all the containers and lock them up.
Link Posted: 6/5/2008 5:00:54 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/5/2008 5:01:16 AM EST by rescuedude]
Did anybody see the news on the net about thieves targerting Large suv's. Basically there was enough ground clearence, poke a hole in the tank and let er' drain. I guess a locking gas cap would be nice....just dont lose the key.
Link Posted: 6/5/2008 8:05:36 AM EST
Ok gang... so what do we do to protect ourselves ?

Garage your vehicle ...

Buy a locking cap ...

what else ?

What happens if you live in an apartment complex... any suggestions ?
Link Posted: 6/5/2008 8:16:49 AM EST
Well, the locking caps are really easily defeated, the old one I own is a hell of a lot more secure than the newer ones. I try to keep a vigilant eye over my things when possible.--- Maybe a gas tank skid plate would make it tougher for a thief looking for a fast job. Fuckin Thieving FUCKS
Link Posted: 6/5/2008 9:01:12 AM EST

Originally Posted By Vinnland:
Fill vents??? Station pumps??? What the hell is happening to America? I wasn't around during the "oil crisis" of the 70's, and maybe I still have innocence... but WTF??


I won't go into details here for obvious reasons. Let's suffice it to say I saw a trailer, in the '70s, that had a 500 gallon drum, a vacuum pump, and a trap door. Think of it as a mini sewer truck. It could suck up gas faster than you ever thought possible. I always wondered why locking filler caps aren't used at service stations.
Link Posted: 6/5/2008 9:02:37 AM EST

Originally Posted By TX-OCD:
Well, the locking caps are really easily defeated, the old one I own is a hell of a lot more secure than the newer ones. I try to keep a vigilant eye over my things when possible.--- Maybe a gas tank skid plate would make it tougher for a thief looking for a fast job. Fuckin Thieving FUCKS


The locking gas caps pretty much only keep out the hooligans who think its funny to put sugar in your gas tank, etc. Even then they could get past it pretty easily if they wanted to....
Link Posted: 6/5/2008 11:42:53 AM EST
A Friend of mine had a buddy of his get his whole heating oil tank drained and stolen. said he had just had it filled to be ready for a price jacks, and he came home one night to find it with a hole in it and all the new heating oil gone.

Not sure how much it was but i'm guessing in the 2k ball park.


i live in WV and with the poorer people around here i'm starting to worry a bit.

This guy lives in Loudon county Va where people have some $$$

Link Posted: 6/5/2008 12:22:20 PM EST
Link Posted: 6/5/2008 2:42:32 PM EST
Google-news search for news articles containing the phrase "gas thieves"...

news.google.com/news?hl=en&tab=wn&scoring=n&q=%22gas+thieves%22

...turns up about 3 news stories per day on people steeling gas. That's alot.
Link Posted: 6/5/2008 2:53:05 PM EST
Can any machanics or welders here on SF quote how much a gas-tank skid plate would run approx.?
Link Posted: 6/5/2008 3:07:43 PM EST
Skid Plates arent very $$$-- What kind of vehicle?
Link Posted: 6/5/2008 5:14:30 PM EST
Full size truck, ford type. 25 gal. tank. others that have trucks/suv's where there is enough space to crawl under might be interested as well.
Link Posted: 6/5/2008 9:20:39 PM EST
I took a call the other night, thought it was going to be BOV, turns out a couple of guys rolled up to a truck, drilled a hole in the tank with a cordless drill, sat there with a bucket until it drained, then some brillant person thought it looked suspicious they were leaving and called us to report someone acting odd.

They did not attempt to take anything else from the vehicle.
Link Posted: 6/6/2008 1:15:56 AM EST
My truck had a locking gas cap on it when I bought it. I didnt realize this until I had gone to the gas station to fill it up. The attendant asked for the key, I took a pair of vice grips and pulled it off in less than 15 seconds.

Link Posted: 6/6/2008 7:48:25 AM EST
We now have to lock all cans in our yard and even take all the gas from the boats at the boat harbor. Can't even leave our boats alone for very lomg at the villages when we visiting. Gas is over $5.68 here and higher in the villages. We are going to sugar one of our cans. Do not want to but have to teach the young punks a leason.
Link Posted: 6/6/2008 11:17:07 AM EST

Originally Posted By jeepnstein:

Originally Posted By Vinnland:
Fill vents??? Station pumps??? What the hell is happening to America? I wasn't around during the "oil crisis" of the 70's, and maybe I still have innocence... but WTF??


I won't go into details here for obvious reasons. Let's suffice it to say I saw a trailer, in the '70s, that had a 500 gallon drum, a vacuum pump, and a trap door. Think of it as a mini sewer truck. It could suck up gas faster than you ever thought possible. I always wondered why locking filler caps aren't used at service stations.


Because almost nobody sees that as a target. A simple flat head screwdriver will get you into 98% of in ground gas tanks I've ever seen. I don't know about how much suction it would take to get the fuel flowing though.

Actual gas stations seem like a much better target IMO if you really want fuel.
Link Posted: 6/6/2008 11:27:42 AM EST

Originally Posted By akcaribouhunter:
We now have to lock all cans in our yard and even take all the gas from the boats at the boat harbor. Can't even leave our boats alone for very lomg at the villages when we visiting. Gas is over $5.68 here and higher in the villages. We are going to sugar one of our cans. Do not want to but have to teach the young punks a leason.



use white styrofoam cups instead ..........the sugar will just plug a fuel filter the strofoam goes farther into the engine
Link Posted: 6/6/2008 1:56:47 PM EST
The sugar will go to the engine. Worked on many engines that had that done to them.
People use a racor style filter and sugar will go through.
Link Posted: 6/6/2008 3:40:31 PM EST
Thieves have been busy here too.

800 gallons of gasoline stolen
WCNC

Thieves took 800 gallons of gas from a Charlotte station sometime late Wednesday night or early Thursday -- and surveillance video captured the crime on tape.

The family-owned gas station on West Sugar Creek Road lost $4,000 in gas, as a result.

Surveillance video shows car after car pulling up to the pumps, filling up and then driving away.

Police say it appears as if two men organized the whole thing. It took two hours to drain the premium pumps dry.

Customers said the store had only been open about seven months.

"It bothers me, because (the owner) is part of our community," said customer Fanci Thomas. "He's trying to service our community. And that's why businesses leave, because you have this kind of stuff going on around your neighborhood."
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