Fuel thief steals gas by drilling hole in gas tank; others report gas siphoned from vehicles

Friday, March 11, 2022
Fuel thief steals gas by drilling hole in gas tank
Someone in Wisconsin stole gas from an SUV at a used car dealership.

NEILLSVILLE, Wis. -- Some people are trying to make bank off a tank of gas.

As expensive as it is right now, stories of people stealing gas aren't much of a surprise.

Some thieves are even resorting to siphoning gas out of cars, KCAL reported.

"They figured a way to pop it. I know for a fact quarter tank of gas and the next morning it was empty," said California resident George Carrier.

Carrier, who has kids to take care of, said he can't afford to lose any more gas.

"What the heck am I gonna do now? More security? More stuff to make sure people aren't messing around? Just more stress," he said.

Carrier isn't the other victim.

"I was dropping off groceries to a family member and when I return to my car, I turned it on and that's when I got the alert that I had low fuel," said Marcela Mena. "It's hard. Gas prices high just for gas taken out. Just heartbreaking."

Emery Shen, a gas station service technician, said he's had calls about various thefts at several gas stations.

"There's been reports of people siphoning gas directly out of the tanks. Putting a hose down into gas tank and sucking out," Shen said. "We are also hearing reports of people drilling in the gas tanks taking gas out of cars directly."

Lieutenant Bill Grisafe with the Pasadena Police Department said, while his department is not seeing an increase in these thefts, it doesn't mean it's not happening.

"It is of concern that gas is a commodity that people are going to need - want - and they don't want to pay the price," Grisafe said.

He said many modern tanks are fitted with special anti-siphoning devices, but thieves are finding ways around it.

Mena plans to take her own steps to prevent it from happening again.

"I will be getting a gas cap lock on my car," she said.

As expensive as fuel is right now, stories of people stealing gas aren't much of a surprise.

A fuel thief in Wisconsin found a new way to steal gas after they allegedly drilled a hole in the take to steal fuel from an SUV at a used car dealership.

Like any other recently acquired used car, Gross Auto Group Mechanics pulled a Jeep Patriot into its garage for a check-up Wednesday, but dealership owner Mike Gross said it quickly turned into more than a routine check.

"As soon as we pulled in, everybody noticed they could smell gas and then they followed the quarter gas trail running in from the outside and then put the vehicle up on the hoist, and that's when we noticed somebody had drilled a hole into the fuel tank that evening prior in order to steal the gasoline from it," Gross said.

Gross is no stranger to theft, however, he said this is a new one.

"We've had a lot of things stolen over the years, lot of crazy things," Gross said. "Wheels, cars, catalytic converters, of course is a hot item, but I've never had anybody drill a hole under a gas tank in order to steal the gas."

He said, given current economic conditions and rising gas prices, he's not surprised someone tried to poach some fuel, but added that people usually siphon it through the gas cap.

"When I saw how they did it, by drilling the hole in the tank, then I was a little more miffed at how that had happened," Gross said.

He said the thief probably stole about $20 worth of gas, causing around $1,500 in damage, WEAU reported.

He said it won't hurt the car's resale value once it's fixed.

Despite that, Gross is offering a $2,000 reward to anyone who comes forward with information leading to an arrest.

"We just kind of wanted to head this off happening again to us or to anybody else in the community," Gross said. "It's a small community. We will be able to fix this car. Just hate to see it happening to other people where they're now trying to replace fuel tanks and getting the same thing done."

In Atlanta, a man was recently arrested after a string of gas thefts with the same technique of drilling a hole in the tank to drain the gas.