A service technician was preparing to inspect a used Jeep when he discovered a gas leak. The technician put the vehicle on a winch and “as soon as he put it in the air, everyone could see that someone had actually drilled a hole in the fuel tank” to steal the gasoline, Gross said.
The thief at the Wisconsin dealership caused about $1,500 in damage to the Jeep for about three gallons of gasoline, Gross said. But elsewhere, thieves reportedly got away with thousands of dollars in gasoline.
Mandeep Singh, owner of a gas station in Duncanville, Texas, has had around $27,000 worth of gas stolen in the past few months. He wouldn’t reveal to CNN how the thefts happen because he doesn’t want others to try the same thing.
“This guy must be working for some type of gas dispenser company because he had way too much information,” Singh said, like “how to get parts (from gas dispensers) out and play with the system. No normal person can do that; the only person who can do that is someone who actually works for distributors.”
The police are working on the case and Singh has tightened security at his post.
“We hope justice will be served,” he said. “That’s a lot of money for us to lose.”
Thayil is “a bit frustrated and angry,” he said. “I can’t pass that on to my client.”
The victims are not just business leaders. Across the country, people are reporting that their gas tanks have been punctured and gas stolen.
Drilling a hole in a gas tank is the only way to get gas out of the tank in newer cars, which have a valve that prevents gas from spilling out in a crash, according to AAA. The valve also prevents gas from being siphoned out of an old-fashioned tank.
How to protect yourself from gas theft
AAA has received so many inquiries about gas theft that it has compiled a list of tips on how to avoid it, according to Andrew Gross, public relations manager for AAA National.
Tips include parking in your garage if you have one, and when you go out, park in well-lit areas with high foot traffic or, if possible, in a fenced lot or parking garage.
If you suspect your tank has been punctured — judging by the smell or puddles of gas near the tank — take your vehicle to a trusted repair center as soon as possible, advises AAA.