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Gas thieves target vehicles in Spanish Fork, Murray

By Randall Jeppesen and Sandra Yi | Posted - Oct. 26, 2011 at 5:41 p.m.


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SPANISH FORK -- A group of pickup truck owners are finding their pickup truck gas tanks empty thanks to thieves - and the truck owners are stuck with costly repair bills.

Over a span of two nights about a dozen trucks in the northeast part of Spanish Fork had someone drill a hole into their fuel tanks to steal gas.

Police Lt. Carl Johnston says the thieves target newer trucks which often have plastic gas tanks. This makes it easier to drill into, and trucks may be more accessible for the thieves.

Johnston says they could use the public's help in catching the crooks.

"When they hear something at night, they need to get out of bed. You need to look," he said.

The thieves typically get away with 15 to 20 gallons of fuel, worth anywhere from $50 to $80. The thieves also often make a mess spilling gas while doing it.

Even though the money lost in gas is relatively small, the real problem is that the tank, now with a large hole, has to be replaced, often costing $500 or more.

Lt. Johnston also says the spilt fuel adds another danger because if there's a spark the truck could catch fire and eventually catch a house on fire.

In Murray, thieves have been siphoning gas off rather than drilling holes in tanks.

"I filled up on Monday. It was $79 to fill it up," said Ken Miller, who owns a photography studio in Murray.

Two of his neighbors at a business complex told Miller they'd been hit too. They think it was overnight, early Tuesday morning.

Jonathan Larsen came to work yesterday to find the fuel cap off of his work van. The van, which is used to deliver medical equipment, had no gas in it.

"They obviously need it more than me, but it's money out of pockets," said Larsen.

Miller is only out the gas money, and does not need to spend the money top replace a tank. Still, he feels the loss.

"It really kind of upsets me that somebody thinks my gas is free for the taking," he said.

Like his neighbor, Miller plans to put a gas cap lock on his van so it doesn't happen again.

Written by [Randall Jeppesen](<mailto: rjeppesen@ksl.com>) and [Sandra Yi](<mailto: syi@ksl.com>)

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