As the cost of gas is on the rise nationally, Kansas City area police are starting to see a relatively new method for stealing fuel: thieves drilling holes into gas tanks.
Three similar reports have been made across Independence and Overland Park within the past few weeks where large vehicles were drained of their fuel overnight. Police are cautioning area residents to beware, saying the thefts could be driven by bigger prices at the pump.
“Hopefully this is not a trend that we’re going to see as gas prices increase,” said Officer John Lacy, a spokesman for Overland Park police.
The incident in Overland Park was reported at the U-Haul facility in the 7700 block of Metcalf Avenue on Feb. 26. Gas thieves apparently jumped a fence, crawled underneath one of the trucks, drilled a hole in the tank and made off with the contents.
While gas siphoning is not a new crime, Lacy said the latest example is the first of its kind in the metro that police are aware of since gas prices started to soar. Police have been in contact with other local agencies, including Kansas City, Olathe and Lenexa, and only Independence has seen a similar crime.
In Independence, Officer Jack Taylor said two Dodge pickups were hit separately while parked in the driveways of their respective owners. The thefts occurred on back-to-back days in early March. One victim reported walking out to his truck the next morning and smelling gas there, Taylor said.
Gas prices across Kansas and Missouri have risen to roughly $3.80 per gallon on average following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has contributed to higher fuel costs across the U.S. While the local prices are above average for Kansas Citians, they rank at the bottom when compared with other states, according to the American Automobile Association, or AAA.
Other reports of stealing gas with power drills have risen around the U.S.
Last week, the L.A. Times reported several vehicles from a probation department in Sacramento had been targeted. Police in Everett, Washington, near Seattle, also saw similar thefts.
For Kansas Citians, authorities are advising area residents of steps that they may take to prevent them from becoming victims. They include parking in a garage or a well-lit area, keeping home video surveillance trained on their vehicles and reporting gas thefts to police as soon as possible.
Originally posted by thekansanascitystar.com