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Desperate times deserve desperate measures, so gas theft is everywhere. But one group of thieves in Texas has a new way to steal it. They have started fashioning trap doors in their minivan floors allowing them to siphon gas out of gas station underground tanks. It has happened three times so far at this one station in Houston. 

The Fuqua Express gas station owner was looking at the numbers, which didn’t add up. So he started going through surveillance camera footage to see if there was anything unusual. There was. 

How is the gas theft done?

He noticed a Chrysler Town & Country minivan would pull onto the station lot and park over one of the underground tank’s fill ports. It would sit there for 15 or 20 minutes, then pull out of the lot. He discovered that the thieves used a pump stuck through the floor of the minivan to suck the fuel up into containers. What is still trying to be determined is how they got into the fill ports, since they are locked. 

Having just notified the Houston police, sure enough, the van returned. It was ready for its fourth theft. According to local TV station KHOU, the owner chased after the van. But the thieves got away. This time they stole a few hundred gallons of diesel fuel before being noticed.

So getting about 350 gallons of fuel per visit, the thieves had stolen over 1,000 gallons of the Fuqua station’s fuel. That amounts to around $5,000 worth of fuel. And the thieves weren’t working alone. 

Were the gas thieves working alone?

High gas prices
High gas prices in West Hollywood | Getty

The owner noticed that whenever the minivan showed up, a black Porsche also was present. It was used as a screen to hide the minivan thief’s scam. So it is a somewhat organized operation. But it is not the only one. 

Just the other night a Chevron station in Spring, Texas, had over 1,750 gallons of fuel stolen. Spring is just north of the Fuqua station’s location. It was a different vehicle, this time a 1990 Ford Super Duty according to KHOU. And it is suspected to be a different group of thieves. That amounts to over $8,000 worth of the liquid gold. 

Gas thieves have a new way to steal your gas

An old metal gas can, its paint peeling off, sitting on a stained concrete floor.
Metal gas can | Madelynn Woods via Unsplash

All of this gas thievery follows on the heels of reports of a different way to steal gas from cars. In the old days, thieves would siphon gas out of the tank from the same place the fuel goes in. But now, with locking gas flaps and roll-over valves obstructing gas filler necks, gas thieves have found an even easier way to grab some gas. 

They drill a hole in the tank and let gravity do the rest. Instead of being out some gas, vehicle owners face replacing their gas tanks. That can run anywhere from $300 to $3,000. 

So park your car inside, or in a well-lit area. And point it so the rear, where the gas tank presides, is facing where the most people will see it. Other than using your bicycle, or welding a steel plate under your gas tank, those are the best options to keep your gas.


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