Local News

Thieves drill into gas tanks of commercial vehicles

Posted March 9, 2011 12:23 p.m. EST
Updated March 10, 2011 1:57 p.m. EST

— 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.

"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."