Gas tanks drilled on trucks, fuel stolen (Only a Matter of Time)
This happened in the town just to the north of me:
Daily Freeman - Gas tanks drilled on trucks, fuel stolen
CATSKILL - Be on the lookout for anyone skulking under vehicles, especially if the smell of gasoline or the sound of a power drill permeates the air.
This according to Joe Romeo, general manager of Catskill Buick Pontiac GMC Cadillac, a dealership which found itself victim to gasoline tank drilling Monday morning, when an employee discovered some spilled gasoline under a pickup truck, Romeo said.
A total of some $500 worth of gas was stolen from four pickup trucks and one mid-sized car, Romeo said. Two holes were found in each gas tank, one to act as a drain and one to act as a vent so the gas could flow freely.
Romeo guessed the thieves chose mostly trucks either because they hold a few more gallons of gasoline, or because they have more ground clearance.
In their urge to get at the gasoline, the thieves did hundreds of dollars worth of damage to each vehicle. The holes in the tanks can't simply be plugged, Romeo said, but must be replaced entirely, and entirely at his expense.
"It's a safety issue," he said.
Speaking of safety, the act of drilling into a tank full of highly flammable fuel seems foolhardy, Romeo said. "You can create a lot of static electricity drilling into steel. All you need is one spark."
Just as higher gas prices have people carrying out such thefts, they also are slowing the sales of the very sorts of vehicles that were damaged over the weekend.
Fewer people want to fuel up pickup trucks and drive very far if they aren't hauling anything, Romeo said. "The people who are using them only as leisure vehicles are now using them only as work vehicles and buying cars to commute around," he said.
Although Romeo is looking into installing lights and fencing, and perhaps bringing in guard dogs, his first act is to ensure none of his vehicles has much fuel in them to steal, he said.
"Our new policy is only $10 of gas until we deliver them to the customers."
Catskill village police are investigating the thefts.