Gas thieves drilling tanks

Thieves in Penticton have come up with a new and brazen way to rip off victims.

Local police say they received four reports Thursday from motorists who had holes drilled into their gas tanks. One of them caused a significant gasoline spill in the parking lot of the Cannery Trade Centre.

Cpl. Dan Moskaluk says in some cases, the thieves are actually filling the holes they create with stoppers or temporary spigots.

“They can drain gas out of it, close it, and then when the vehicle gets topped up again, they return” he said.

Many of the incidents appear to have been motivated by the theft of the gasoline rather than vandalism, so Moskaluk said it was possible a rubber stopper could have come loose in the Cannery parking lot, leading to Thursday’s spill. Or, the driver could have just refilled his tank before parking. 

In addition to Thursday’s four reports, Moskaluk said reports of drilled out gas tanks have become a strangely frequent occurrence in recent weeks.

Penticton resident Gord Lindsay said his gas tank had a hole drilled into it sometime on the night of Jan. 10 while his car was parked outside his home.

“I knew I put gas in it the day before, like 80 dollars,” he said.

He initially thought someone had siphoned his tank, so went and filled back up. When he got back to his home, gasoline was pouring from his vehicle.

He had someone look at his car, and determined the thieves drilled three holes into his tank.

Lindsay says the damage is being covered by ICBC after a $300 deductible, but he has been forced to drive around town on empty — all his gas tank can hold — while he waits to get his vehicle fixed next week.

Cpl. Moskaluk says residents should report all suspicious activity around their vehicles to the Penticton RCMP.

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