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Gas Tank Siphoning Alert Informative - A disturbing new trend is on the rise....

Review by Principissa on 2008-04-10
And it hits you right where it hurts, your gas tank.

How many of you park your car in a shopping center parking lot, lock your doors, set your alarms and think your car is safe? I was one of those people myself, until today. These thieves don't want your car, your stereo, the Ipod that I see so many people leave on the front seat, they want what's in your gas tank!

I stopped into my local Kroger to fill up (I get .10 cents off a gallon with every 100.00 spent) and get some perishables (milk, eggs, and bread) for the week. I filled up my car, which even with the .10 cents off per gallon still totaled 35.78 for a full tank.

I park my car, lock my doors, and set my alarm and when I got done with my shopping 15 minutes later, I had 1/4 of a tank of gas left in my car.
It seems that I am the latest victim in a very disturbing trend of fuel siphoning.

I don't know about you, but in this house filling up our cars has become yet another monthly bill. We both fill up once every two weeks, his truck costing close to 100.00 every two weeks and my car costing 40.00 every month. This theft not only left me without gas, but with a huge hole in my wallet. In order to pay for the new tank of gas that I needed I would either have to dip into the grocery budget, the savings account, or the emergency fund. I had no choice but to take 40.00 out of savings to replace the gas that was stolen out of my car.
I went to the police and filed a report, and sadly, I am not the only victim of this siphoning thief. According to the detective I was the 10th complaint they had that day of someone stealing the gas from their car. When I asked what they were doing to try and catch this person/people, he just looked at me and said, "this guy is siphoning cars in broad daylight, in busy parking lots, we are doing everything we can to find out who he/they are." Which to me means, we'll put your name on file and if we catch him we'll give you a call.

So until this person is caught, what are WE supposed to do?! Put padlocks on our gas tanks? Put up surveillance cameras and tie an attack dog to our cars?

I took a pretty hard hit today so I can't even imagine what would happen if this gasoline was stolen from someone who really couldn't afford it.

The next time you are out, pay close attention to your gas tank.
Comments:83 Replies - Latest reply on 2008-04-15
Posted by Mrs. V on 2008-04-10:
Ouch! I'm so sorry that happend to you, Prin :(

Thank you for the warning. I will try to keep a good eye out for this new type of low life.

On a side note, do you have a locking gas cap? Did it help at all, if you had one?
Posted by Principissa on 2008-04-10:
No I don't, but according to Gothic Smurf, you can purchase a locking gas cap at AutoZone for 15.00. We will be going to get ours later today. Thank goodness for the emergency fund (aka the coffee can in the cabinet full of loose change). I highly recommend that everyone purchase one.
They can be found at this link:
http://www.autozone.com/N,16000145/shopping/partTypeResultSet.htm
Posted by Mrs. V on 2008-04-10:
We do have one ^_^

I hope the cops find this low life for you :(
Posted by GothicSmurf on 2008-04-10:
Yep, thanks for the link. I just found that mine is only about $13 as I don't have a dual gas chamber. Seeing as how a small 12 gallon tank can easily run about $40- I think the $13 investment is worth it.
Posted by MRM on 2008-04-10:
Principissa, thanks for warning your readers on this disturbing trend. Im glad that I dont park in a public garage when I go to work. Public garage can be a good place for theives to do their work, since it is dim and tight spaces between cars.
Posted by Principissa on 2008-04-10:
MRM for the people that park there, I really think they should invest in one of these caps. My new cap will only cost 13.00 and hubby's will cost 20.00.
I think the saddest part of this whole situation was that this was an open, busy parking lot, and my gas was stolen in broad daylight, in the middle of the morning. My mom in Florida says they are actually stealing the gas from people's cars parked in the driveways. I called my mom and told her to go to Autozone as well.
Posted by MRM on 2008-04-10:
I will check out those gas cap lock for my Jeep. Thanks for the info!
Posted by GothicSmurf on 2008-04-10:
Princi- Those right there just paid for the gas that was stolen from you.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-10:
I don't know much about cars but I thought most cars had anti siphon protection. Anyway, I get the feeling a locking gas cap would merely keep a reasonably honest person honest. Somebody who is tapping gas in the middle of a day in a parking lot probably isn't going to be being deterred by a 20 dollar lock.

What's with people these days.
Posted by MRM on 2008-04-10:
Theyre coo coo for cocoa puffs, thats for sure.
Posted by GothicSmurf on 2008-04-10:
PMS- Perhaps not. But would you leave your house unlocked during the day because the locks would deter them? If they were desperate, no, but if one car had a lock and the next one didn't- they'd most likely go after the one with out the lock because it's less hassle.
Posted by Principissa on 2008-04-10:
I'm with Gothic. Most people don't have the luxury to keep re-filling their gas tanks after all their fuel has been stolen. The lock may not deter them if they are that desperate, but it will give them a damn hard time.
By the way, my car is an older model, 2000 Cavalier, it does not have anti-siphon protection. Some people don't have the luxury of brand new cars.
Posted by GothicSmurf on 2008-04-10:
Also, if the lock is tampered with, it's going to be a little easier to prove that there was indeed a theft.

And with gas expected to hit $4 a gallon, that 5 gallons of gas is going to be $20.
Posted by Principissa on 2008-04-10:
Can we say finger print evidence! Last I checked stealing was a crime, and if this person is dumb enough to have his/her prints already on file because of past crimes, it will be even easier to nab them. And trust me, I would press charges if I could.
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2008-04-10:
I have a locking gas cap.
Everyone should NOT get a locking gas cap.
As GS pointed out...the thieves need a target so mine will be left alone.
Posted by Principissa on 2008-04-10:
LOL chuck! (at least I hope you weren't serious) :)
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2008-04-10:
Of course I was kidding. But, there is an element of truth nonetheless.
Posted by MRM on 2008-04-10:
Bad Chucky!
Posted by Principissa on 2008-04-10:
True, very true.
Posted by GothicSmurf on 2008-04-10:
I know that. Nothing in life is fool proof, but given the choice wouldn't you rather take the safer/ more secure route when it comes to protecting your assets? :rolls eyes:
Posted by Principissa on 2008-04-10:
As I said in the community forums, there are a lot of people today who aren't like me and have the luxury of a savings account where they could have gotten that 40.00 from. To those people that 40.00 is the difference between paying their bills, feeding their kids, and being able to drive to work. If I can stop these thieves from making life harder for one of those people, then that 20.00 is beyond worth it. I would rather have the thieves target my car then have them target a person who just can't afford it.
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2008-04-10:
I responded on the Community board thread...then found this one...again, sorry this has happened and thanks for the kick in the pants I needed. I bought a locking gas cap last summer and it's sitting on my dining room table...I'll be sure to put it on tomorrow.
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2008-04-10:
Did you check if the store had any surveillance cameras out there where they can have review and maybe at least see what kind of car the guilty has or what they were wearing?
Posted by Nohandle on 2008-04-10:
This has not happened to anyone I personally know, but wouldn't you think someone who witnesses this would report it? I certainly don't suggest confronting the individual who is doing this in broad daylight in a public parking area, but gee a telephone call. How long does that take?
Posted by Principissa on 2008-04-10:
Nohandle, you would think that in broad daylight one person would have seen it. If they did it to my car, heck knows how many others were siphoned. Almost everyone now a days has a cellphone. Why not use it? I don't know what's worse, someone stealing 3/4 a tank of gas or someone seeing it and not caring. It's the "I feel bad for that poor sucker." or "It's not my car." attitude that people have that these thieves are getting away with it. The police are looking at the surveillance footage of the parking lot, but unfortunately the people doing it had their backs turned to the camera so it just looked like a guy bending down to tie his shoe next to the cars.
DB hubby just went out and bought 2 locking gas caps, one for my car and one for his truck. I don't care if people say they are a waste of money, filling up your gas tank two times a day is an even bigger one.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-10:
Sorry to hear of your troubles, Princi. There will be a lot more of this in a few weeks when gas hits $4/gallon. Don't be surprised if the police laugh at you if you suggest lifting prints left behind by the thief. While this was annoying to devastating to you, they regard it as a common offense. The most concerning element here is that they are doing this in broad daylight. They are pretty brazen. Therefore, it is highly unpredictable what such people would do if they were interrupted in the act by the vehicle owner! Take care in parking lots, folks.
Posted by Starlord on 2008-04-10:
Get a locking gas cap and install a Viper alarm system. This is the one that has the proximity alarm that if anyone approaches the car, it tells them, "You are too close, Back away from the vehicle." If they don't, the alarm goes off, cycling through six siren souunds at 120 decibels. Very effective. With that combination, no one will try to get your gas, and in the long run, it is cheaper than two or three tanks of gas.
Posted by CrystalSword on 2008-04-10:
We got our locking gas cap the day after we bought the new truck, someone has hit the van 2 - 3 times sitting here in the driveway...I need to see if we can find a locking cap for the van...even though we do have it up for sale. Might end up being a selling point. Gotta do something.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-10:
I would definitely confront someone if I saw them siphoning gas from someone's car and, at the same time, I would be calling 911. I think if they were confronted, they would probably run away. We can't be afraid of everyone--otherwise they will keep taking advantage.

If you approach someone like you own the place, they probably aren't smart enough to call your bluff. I'll take my chances with these low lifes, especially if I'm in a big public place. And, I always carry pepper spray if all else fails--and I'm not afraid to use it. So far, no one has ever bothered me.

I agree that a locking gas cap will probably deter most because the scum bags are really looking for something quick and easy.
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2008-04-12:
I would not confront the person, but I would call the police from my cellphone and watch what car they got into to leave in and report the license plate number. I think that would be the safest thing to do and at the same time, the right thing to do. Got a camera phone? Snap a photo.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
Like others I spent the $20 and bought a locking gas cap. I have read that they will also just poke a hole in the bottom of your tank and drain it that way now.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
Well, I am with dianec and would confront anyone I caught doing this while at the same time calling 911. Best answer dianec helping each other is what it's got to be all about.
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2008-04-12:
Princi...I finally did put that locking cap on yesterday thanks to your very helpful reminder. Diane, calling the police instead of 911 would be better. 911 is for life threatening emergencies only and this wouldn't be an emergency. It is easier to call 911 because it's an easy number to remember...but I would suggest calling the local police instead.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
In a situation when one needs the cops one calls 911 because that is a crime in process and is life threatening emergency. If one calls the police instead they could be on the phone while the criminal beats them half to death waiting to get a human to answer, bad advice!
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2008-04-12:
Seeing someone siphoning gas from a car IS NOT life threatening. As I said...Call the police and report it, get the license plate number if you can see the car they get into...I do NOT advise confronting the person.
IF you witness someone siphoning gas and they attack someone, that's a different situation but that's not the situation here.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
Lidman, I voted your comments as "not helpful and not relevent."
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2008-04-12:
Super, if anyone pokes a hole in my gas tank to get my gas...I hope it causes a spark and blows my car up with them under it and leaves them scared for life to think over what they've done.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
That's not true DB, if some one is siphoning gas 1. It is life threatening to them and 2. If you are going to be a good citizen and do the right thing then you call 911 because that is what it's for and you at least tell the idiot stealing gas what you are doing. That's what it means to be a part of a community and in some places it's the law.

Pirate, that is your right to vote anyway you want but it is not helpful and not relevant and I also find it inappropriate and user harassment.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
P-Dub, we vote you as "not helpful and not relevent." Now do us all a favor and leave (again).
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
I really don't care how you vote as you'll soon be on full mod status.
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2008-04-12:
Whatever Liddy, you're entitiled to give your opinion and I am entitled to give the right opinion.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
And as usual you are wrong.

PDF]CRIME IN PROGRESS/CIVIL DISTURBANCE
CRIME IN PROGRESS/CIVIL DISTURBANCE. 1. Do not attempt to apprehend or interfere ... immediately call 911 and be prepared to provide the dispatcher with the ...

www.csus.edu/police/pubs/erg/erg_crime.pdf
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
I am with Lidman on this. Although it is a petty crime (stealing gas) it is being done in broad daylight and in an area of heavy traffic. This indicates that the 'bad guys' are pretty brazen and have likely taken steps to counter an intervention by a citizen (probably armed). I would recommend calling 911 in this case. In most cases of petty crimes DB's advice is the right course. Not this time.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
I'll have to disagree and side with DB.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
Of course you do, Pirate. Of course you do. It's okay, and I understand.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
I agree Doc, it's just that some people want to argue on everything and anything.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
Hey Lid! What was that post using a YouTube link that Pirate posted in a cynical response to your helpful informative on your trip to Israel? When I tried to launch it, the link was broken.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
Doc, it was very anti Semitic, distasteful and I don't know why they let it stay up as long as they did, I didn't get the link maybe someone else did?
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
Admin did the right thing and yanked it down. It was a foul anti Semitic piece of trash. How much you want to bet they pulled it without penalty?
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2008-04-12:
Lidman (04/12/2008)
Well, I am with dianec and would confront anyone I caught doing this......

Lidman (04/12/2008)
PDF]CRIME IN PROGRESS/CIVIL DISTURBANCE
CRIME IN PROGRESS/CIVIL DISTURBANCE. 1. Do not attempt to apprehend or interfere...

...So, which is it? You're going to confront as you posted, or not attempt to apprehend or interfere as you posted? Can't have it both ways.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
You see what I mean Doc, some people just can't leave things alone, how silly...
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2008-04-12:
LOL!
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
Even though I have a horse in the race, I generally dislike censorship (even if it is anti-Semitic and directly applies to me). I prefer that the stuff be left up. How else will we know where the bigots are? I blocked urFriendlyPirate...not because of the unlikely possibility that he is an anti-Semite. I blocked urFriendlyPirate because he seldom adds to the discussion and merely wants to troll for a fight with other commentators.
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2008-04-12:
I agree with you Doc...I can have Admin Delete ALOT of stuff that's been posted about me that are not true, but why? Let the members see those for what they are...deleting those comments only cover and protect that member, so why should I do them a favor by hiding who they really are? And I'm ONLY speaking for myself when I say that.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
Good point DOC, I hear what your saying but I think sometimes the bigots must be stopped before they get started.
Posted by old fart on 2008-04-12:
It would be no great loss to the site if PWP were blocked, period..
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
RIGHT DB, RIGHT!!!!! LMAO!
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
Well, NASCAR is on and I must make sure everyone turns left!
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2008-04-12:
Of course I'm right...AGAIN! LOL!
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
I guess his parrot died? His nick is no longer PWP. Perhaps the parrot didn't like the company he had to keep? I hope Admin does NOT ban PWP. He's like the ill-tempered cousin we could always count on to say something inappropriate.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
DB--I guess in big cities it is not a good idea to call 911, but where I live, the police want us to call 911 for any crime. I live in a small town and there is not always someone at the station. I actually needed to clarify it once and that is what I was told. I would think a crime should be reported right away--and wherever you live, you should know which number to call.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
No, Ghost, that character would be that siffer character that's already been ousted.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
I read in the paper just yesterday that people are going to have to start looking out for each other because there are just not enough police in any city or town to combat it all. Of course, use your better judgement, but I will always try to do what I can--and I always have. Sometimes you just have to step up to the plate.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
They "ousted" the wrong member, it should have been Pirate.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
You tell it dianec! I'm with you...
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2008-04-12:
I agree Dianec...I figured you must live in a small town...that's the way it was in the small town we used to live in when we lived in PA...but that town was so small everyone could ID anyone walking down the street anyway, so they never tried to get away with such things...LOL...here in the Big City, you take your life in your hands everyday, and they always advise NOT to confront people, but to call for help.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
Thank you, Lidman. I may be small, but I am mighty.

I grew up in a big city and averted many a crime. One time I was approached by a rather large creep when I had just gotten into my car. He stuck his arm into the window of my car and grabbed my hair. Well, I rolled up my window on his arm and started driving off. Needless to say, he whined and then I let the window down so he could go away. I don't know what he had in mind, but I wasn't going to find out. I was leaving the beach at the time because he had started talking to me there and he gave me the willies. Sometimes you have to think on your feet. Everyone needs to do that--even for people they don't know, or should I say, especially.

DB--Yeah, we know all of our neighbors, so when someone wanders in and is up to no good, we all stare at them and they leave, lol. In Portland, people often take things into their own hands, especially guys, because they know if they don't, the police may not catch the thief, etc. It's a dangerous place for a criminal! They have even chased people down in their cars while calling 911. I love it.
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2008-04-12:
I've thought about doing that exact same thing if anyone reached into my window...but I wouldn't let them lose, they'd have to run along or drag along until I pulled into the police station...or, until a police pulled me over.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
DB, lol. I thought about it, but alas I was a young hippy who didn't want to cause any permanent damage. But, the bigger question, why did I care? I guess once a pacifist, always a pacifist. Oh, and I was in California--he probably would have sued me and won!
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
Hey DB--I lived in a small town in PA for 2 years--Natrona Heights. What a trip that place was! Best pizza we had ever had at the time, too. The population was made up of people of Italian or Polish descent. Very interesting place, that was. Beautiful too.
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2008-04-12:
We were not far from Johnstown.
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
Natrona Hts was about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh. Where is Johnstown?
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2008-04-12:
Hmmmm...no one's ever asked me that before...LOL...Do you remember hearing about the Johnstown Floods?
Posted by Anonymous on 2008-04-12:
Ok, DB, I see they happened long ago. You see, when you're from the NW, you rarely hear things about the east, midwest, or really any other part of the US, lol. Actually, I didn't put it together--but now that you mention it.... But, I still don't know what part of PA that is.
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2008-04-12:
Western PA
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2008-04-12:
Cambria County
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2008-04-12:
They had three floods...the biggest was in 1889, then in 1936 and again in 1977...here's some info that says where Johnstown is located:

Situated in the Southwestern region of Pennsylvania, the City of Johnstown is located in a valley of the Appalachian Mountain chain called the Allegheny Mountains.

The city rests at the junction of two rivers--the Stoneycreek and Little Conemaugh and it is at this point where these waterways become the Conemaugh River.
Posted by DebtorBasher on 2008-04-14:
Princi...congrates on making the M3C Newsletter!
Posted by BeeBob on 2008-04-14:
Someone asked 'what is wrong with people now?' We allowed
the Democrat Party & Democrat Supreme Court to remove
prayer from our schools in the 60's, thats what went wrong..
BeeBob
Posted by CrazyRedHead on 2008-04-14:
Thanks for the link and the heads up. I have one question though, how do the locking gas caps lock? Do you have to stick a key in them to unlock them? On my Villager I have a lever under my seat that opens up the gas cover, but on my Windstar, all you have to do is just walk up to the outside tank and open it. I will be making a trip to AutoZone later on anyways, it's only 15.00 there.
Posted by mickeywitte on 2008-04-14:
It's getting worse, a report in the news the other day indicted that thieves were drilling holes in gas tanks to get at the gas (in cars apparently with locked gas caps)
Posted by Principissa on 2008-04-14:
mickey, I read that as well. As my mom said, this is getting as bad as the gasoline shortage in the 70's. Either car makers need to come out with tamper proof gas tanks, or people need to take the initiative to start looking out for one another. Since for some people it's simply not feasible to ride a bike, or if you are like me and live in a small town with no public transportation, the only means to get around is by car. We all need to look out for each other and if we see something suspicious call the police, alert a store employee, do something. Too many times people will see something and just walk away with the assumption that someone else will take care of this. And it is this mentality that other people will deal with it, that these thieves are getting away with it.
Posted by dar357 on 2008-04-15:
I attempted to siphon gasoline from my 1998 Lincoln Continental & it can't be done. There's a valve inside the tube that prevents anyone from doing so.

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