July 9, 2008

Police Investigate If Discarded Fuel Tank Was Stolen

By Amy Hunter, Bristol Herald Courier, Va.

Jul. 9--BRISTOL, Va. -- Police are investigating a possible fuel tank theft after a large, mostly empty tank was found on Lee Highway on Tuesday, said Bristol Virginia police Lt. Vic Jordan.

The 20- to 25-gallon tank, believed to be from a pickup, was found in the 2000 block of the highway with it's gas lines cleanly cut -- possibly indicating the tank was cut from a truck, Jordan said.

"We assume it was stolen because the gas lines were cut," he said.

With the cost of gas hovering around $4 per gallon, fuel theft has been in rise nationwide. And while gas station drive-offs still account for the majority of stolen fuel, media reports across the country indicate that thieves are getting more creative in their methods.

In recent months there has been an increase in reports of gas tanks that have been punctured, stolen or found empty after their contents have been siphoned out. Pickups and SUVs are more vulnerable because of their height.

Also, several reports cite, people are increasingly purchasing locking gas caps to prevent thefts.

Jordan added that gas drive-off's have always been a regular problem in the area, but police have seen a marked increase locally in recent months.

"It happens weekly," he said. "If we get information on the car, like a tag number, we can track them down."

Jordan said his department has not received any reports of a stolen fuel tank.

[email protected]| (276) 645-2531


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