Gas thieves are taking their illegal game to the next level.
According to RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk in some cases people are drilling holes in gas tanks and a closable spigot or screw is inserted.
“We responded (Thursday) to four, separate incidents where vehicles have been damaged and it appears to be in efforts to siphon gas,” said Moskaluk. “Installing a closable spigot or screw so that they can empty it the tank one time, close it so the driver would then find the car empty and put more fuel in it and then the suspect might return to that same vehicle and simply continuously take gas from that openable spigot.
‘Within the past couple of months we have seen other instances of this happening in the Penticton area and I am aware that in other areas of the province that this is also occurring.”
Moskaluk added he believes this to be something new to this area.
“Our recommendations to everybody again is, if there’s somebody that’s suspicious or out of place and they’re mucking around somebody’s vehicle, a neighbour’s vehicle certainly call it in and bring it to somebody’s attention,” he said.
Capt. Ray Simpson of Penticton Fire Rescue warned the theft of gas, especially drilling, is dangerous.
“Most of the gas tanks I think they’re (thieves) going after are poly tanks, so it’s a composite tank and not steel but anytime there is going to be an issue with a spark of course,” said Simpson. “Usually drilling doesn’t create a spark like that but who knows what could happen once you release that gas, especially with fumes nowadays, they don’t dissipate as quickly as they used to. Plus they also puddle in areas where snow isn’t cleared and so that’s always an issue with somebody driving by and throwing a cigarette.”
He said in one the cases Thursday, a vehicle damaged in the Cannery parking lot leaked considerable gas onto the ground and the area had to be sprayed with foam.
Simpson was also aware of an Argo road maintenance vehicle having two holes drilling into the bottom of its gas tank and there were also reports of city vehicles being damaged at the community centre by gas thieves.