Gas stations across the country have been the victim of gas thieves.
Back in the day, you could pump gas without prepayment, but those days are long gone.
Yet, even with required prepayment, criminals are still coming up with ways to steal gasoline.
Recently in Texas, thieves came up with a new way to steal from gas stations.
The criminals fabricated minivans with trap doors. These trap doors were used to siphon gas from the gas station’s underground storage tanks.
This happened three days in a row at one Houston gas station.
The gas station, Fuqua Express, told local media that they found a discrepancy that led them to look at the store’s surveillance footage.
The video showed something strange…
A Chrysler minivan would park over the tanks’ fill ports for 15 to 20 minutes. Then they would drive off.
Even though the fill ports were locked, they were able to open them and pump the gasoline into a tank in the van.
When the van attempted to steal gas for the fourth time, the owner recognized the vehicle. He chased after it but the thieves got away.
Over three days, the thieves stole about 1,000 gallons of gas – about 350 gallons per day – costing the store over $5,000.
And the minivan wasn’t working alone. Surveillance video showed a black sedan parked to hide the view of the minivan each time there was a theft.
This gas station wasn’t the only one being targeted.
With gas prices skyrocketing around the country there have been numerous gas thefts.
According to AAA’s Doug Shupe…
“This is a sign of the times you know. It’s thieves looking for ways that they can make money by stealing what is becoming an increasingly more expensive and valuable commodity, gasoline.”
But it’s not just gas stations that thieves are targeting. They’re also going after cars themselves.
And it’s not the lost gas that costs the victim money. If thieves put a hole in your gas tank, it could easily cost $1,000 or more to fix.
But sometimes, it can be difficult to tell if your gas was stolen. You might not remember or pay attention to how much gas you have.
So, if you don’t normally pay attention to this, start doing it.
Also, if you think your gas has been stolen, look for signs of damage around your gas cap. There might be scratches or dents around the cap.
With that in mind, here are a few things you can do to prevent your gas from getting stolen.
Many newer cars have locking gas doors. This means that to open the gas door the car usually has to be unlocked.
Unfortunately, the lock on the gas door is very weak and can easily be pried open with a screwdriver. (I had to do this once when the lock broke).
But whether or not you have a locking gas door, you should buy a locking gas cap. These can be found at most auto parts stores.
This way you would have two locks for the thieves to get past, which will hopefully cause them to move on to another car.
Position the gas door:
When you park your car, pay attention to where your gas door is, and ensure your gas door faces the open.
For instance, park with your gas door facing an open street. If you park in a big parking lot, pick outer-perimeter parking spots for increased visibility from passersby.
This way, it would be very noticeable if someone was removing gas from your car.
Lights and camera:
If you park in your driveway, make sure your car can be seen by a security camera.
Stealing gas is not a quick crime, and the thieves would have to risk being seen on camera for an extended period. This may make them think twice.
Also, park near motion-activated lights. Again, this can act as a deterrent as the thieves won’t want to be seen.
In addition, when you fill up at the gas station be extra cautious driving home.
If a thief sees you put $150 worth of gas in your car, they might follow you home to steal the gas later.
With the continuing increases in gas prices, the problem of gas theft will continue to happen more often, and being the victim of stolen gas can be very expensive.
Use these tips to help you stay safe from gas theft.