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Thieves drill into gas tanks of commercial vehicles

Posted March 9, 2011
Updated March 10, 2011

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— Triangle business owners already grappling with skyrocketing gas prices face another threat: the theft of gas straight from the tanks of their vehicles.

Cary police said Wednesday that two businesses along Woodwinds Industrial Court, near Cary Parkway and Old Apex Road, have reported having holes drilled into the gas tanks of their vehicles and fuel siphoned from the tanks.

Bob Summer, owner of Spring Green Lawn Care, said that two of his vehicles were damaged, and he will lose two days of work – about $2,000 worth of business – while they are repaired.

"Gas is one of our bigger expenses for this business," he said. "But it's an even bigger disappointment to have the repair that's going to be 10 times the cost of the gas."

Raleigh business owner Hill Dickerson said that one of his company's service vans was drilled into Monday night while parked along Hargrove Road.

He fears more incidents like this happening, with gas prices in the Raleigh metro area rising nearly 50 cents in the past month.

"To put a drill bit into a gas tank, it tells you the state of our economy," Dickerson said. "Somebody is willing to risk their lives to get $50, $60 worth of gas."

"I felt bad that they were in that situation that they needed gas, that they felt they had to do what they did."

Cary police said this method of gas stealing is new. Vehicles targeted by gas thieves Vehicles targeted by gas thieves

"This is the first incident I've heard of in my career of someone actually stealing gas by drilling a hole," Capt. Scott Davis said.

While the incidents in Raleigh and Cary are the only ones that have been reported, police said that increases in gas prices and thefts often go hand-in-hand.

"It's happened when gas prices have soared in the past, but we haven't seen a trend as of yet," Davis said.

Police said drivers should park their vehicles in well-lit areas and in view of surveillance cameras, if possible.

Summer said that he worries about gas thieves striking again.

"For me, the biggest frustration is that we don't really have a way of preventing this from happening again," he said. "We're hoping it's random, but the fact is that we could get this repaired, park the truck here overnight next week, and have it happen all over again."

60 Comments

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  • NCAries Mar 10, 2011

    Too many bad people in this world for the good ones to get ahead. Lord I hate to see whats coming!
    marysdecor2004

    Maybe there wouldn't be so many bad people in the world if the good people would take a stand when the rich people are causing all the other people to suffer.

  • ncsuecu Mar 10, 2011

    There's gold in them thar tanks...black gold

  • Rebelyell Mar 9, 2011

    This is what happens when you have $100+ of gas in a tank that is so accessible. An additional problem of inflated gasoline prices, $100 a barrel for something that basically just gets pumped out of the ground.

  • hunt36 Mar 9, 2011

    I HOPE THEY GET A CRISPY FRIED SURPRISE
    THIEVES IF IT DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU LEAVE IT ALONE! I HOPE I CATCH SOMEONE DOING IT TO MY TRUCK
    TO THE PEOPLE STEALING GASIT COST US THE SAME AS YOU TO FILL OUR GAS AND WE WORK!!

  • Hello_Golos Mar 9, 2011

    @tammydale (DRILL BABY DRILL !!!!!!)

    Best. Comment. Ever.

  • Mustange Mar 9, 2011

    Metal or plastic or brass drill bits what ever. Its gas AND IT WILL ignite these people arent smart they just got lucky. And if you do it long enough the odds are against you and then they will have no problem finding out then whose doing it, if they can identify whats left.

  • wildcat Mar 9, 2011

    Cameras should have been there and then they would have an idea who did it.

  • trianglerelic Mar 9, 2011

    If you can't afford guards or a complex security system, those hidden game cameras work great and are relatively cheap. Many work in the total dark... I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't an inside job of some sort. A total stranger walking up to a utility van has a 50/50 chance of finding Diesel instead of gasoline. This person was someone that knew those trucks run on Gasoline instead of Diesel.

  • trianglerelic Mar 9, 2011

    If they had any smarts, they would have used a bit that doesn't produce sparks with a slow turning drill. But it's a lot harder to ignite gas that you might think. Don't try this at home, but you can toss a burning cigarette directly into fuel and it will just go out. Usually the same with Sparks and matches. You must hold the flame to the fuel for a few moments to get it burning. Otherwise, the electric fuel pump inside your take would cause fires... The same doesn't apply to Fuel / Air Mixtures. Flammable fumes can and will blow up from sparks. I've seen those two goofy guys on TV shoot gas tanks with bullets and they don't catch fire. Don't believe everything you see on TV and Movies ;-)

  • jeff27577 Mar 9, 2011

    Metal spark + gas vapors + brand new source of oxygen thanks to the hole.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    plastic tank. most if not all cars have them

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