Police: Criminals drilling holes in gas tanks attempting to steal gasoline
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Fuel prices are just starting to go down after reaching record highs last month.
Less than a week ago, WBTV told you gas pumps at a Charlotte convenience store were rigged to distribute more than a thousand dollars in free gas.
But that’s not the only way criminals are stealing it.
When you park your car in a wide-open parking lot like the one on Lancaster Highway, you don’t expect to be a victim of a crime.
But that’s exactly what happened here involving RAM and Ford E-150 vans.
According to police reports from CMPD, whoever did this drilled a hole in the gas tank and tried to steal the gas.
The incidents happened in January, February, and March of this year, and police say a man was arrested and charged.
But auto shop owner Dutch Silverstein told WBTV they saw this a few years back when gas prices were high.
“Catalytic converter and fuel theft are definitely on the rise because people are feeling the pinch,” said Silverstein.
He says, in SUVs or vans, there’s more room for a criminal to get under, tap to see how full the tank is, and drill.
“Although it’s thick plastic, they could drill right through it, the fuel that’s contained in the fuel tank would then run out into a vessel that they would use to catch it, and they could pump it from there into their own car or any other vessel they want that would hold it.”
Silverstein says it can be a dangerous process.
“You’re working with gasoline which is obviously very, very flammable, so yeah it can be very dangerous. People die doing this.”
And for the driver – it’s expensive.
Silverstein says, replacing a fuel tank could cost anywhere from $500 to several thousand dollars.
AAA recommends parking in the garage at your home or secure parking facility, if possible.
When out in public, they say, look for a well-lit, highly trafficked area.
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