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Old June 4, 2008, 01:49 PM   #1
BillCA
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Gas Theft - What to do about it

I keep hearing on the news that gas thefts are on the rise. So far, I haven't heard of anyone locally being victimized, but several articles online talk about truckers being hit for huge thefts. I also heard that in SoCal theives have cut gas lines to drain fuel from vehicles.

So, I'm thinking about the night when someone hears an odd noise and finds his car/truck is being drained of fuel by some goober with a gas can. Or worse, several vehicles parked outside are getting drained by a group of goblins.

I'm not going to shoot someone over $20-$30 worth of gas. Not unless there is an imminent threat. In fact, I'm thinking this is a really good time to have pepper spray handy. One can imagine a thief just deciding to jog away with whatever is in the can and leaving the rest of your fuel draining out on the ground.

Any thoughts on tactics for apprehending these clowns?

And no, I don't think firing a warning shot into the gas can is an appropriate response.
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Old June 4, 2008, 02:01 PM   #2
DieHard06
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I am a little cynical about the reports of the "rise" in gas theft from cars. A couple of years ago there were a rash of reports on shark attacks along the east coast after one kid got his leg bitten off. Not long after that, we found out that the number of shark attacks was the same as it was every year and there were not an increase at all in shark attacks. The news just needed something to do a story on and the sharks were convenient and scary. I remember seeing reports on the news of the rise of gas theft from cars just a few years ago when I was in high school and gas was at an all time high of $1.68. I just have a hard time buying the fear mongering that the media puts out sometimes. That being said, I know it does happen (as do shark attacks!).
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Old June 4, 2008, 02:13 PM   #3
SilentHitz
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Quote:
I am a little cynical about the reports
They're true...at least around here. I just had to put a locking gas cap on my van, they got 1/2 a tank, and it cost me $100 to fill that sucker up.

In some areas they are using cordless drills to punch holes in the fuel tanks...when they start costing me that much money, they are risking their life! I hate a freakin' thief!
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Old June 4, 2008, 02:27 PM   #4
rgoers
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I know that there have been a few unlocked cars in the neighborhood that have been 'gone through' overnight.

Like BillCA - I find it hard to justify shooting someone over a can of gas. The pepper spray is an excellent idea. I have a can setting by the front door at all times.
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Old June 4, 2008, 02:55 PM   #5
Mikeyboy
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Its happened around my work, a guy was caught stealing gas from a few vehicles in our parking lot. He was driving an old late model beater (probably got 10mpg) and was filling up 5 gallon jugs in putting them in his trunk. Thankfully the 3rd time he pulled this off the police caught him

I think the best defense is to get a locking gas cap, if your don't have a locking fuel door on your vehicle. It should keep the opportunistic thieves away.

I would be very careful if you have a large truck, especially a diesel.
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Old June 4, 2008, 02:56 PM   #6
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In most states, you can NOT shoot to protect property. In that scenario, the best weapon you have is your cell phone. If you tell the operator the thieves are "there now" they'll send someone pretty quickly.

If you go out to scare them off and they menace you, that's another story, IF you're completely faultless in the ensuing situation. That is, you can't bait them then draw your gun.
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Old June 4, 2008, 02:58 PM   #7
john in jax
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Pepper spray is a good idea, hmmmm. . . . maybe even an attack dog.

I agree that it is really hard to justify (to myself) doing too much harm to someone that's desperate enough to go sucking gasoline thru a hose stuck down in your gas filler, BUT when the start destroying you personal property with power tools, well I could get very upset about that.
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Old June 4, 2008, 03:16 PM   #8
Keltyke
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"sucking gasoline thru a hose stuck down in your gas filler,"

Walk up behind the guy real quiet-like. Rack the slide, place the muzzle against the back of his neck and simply say, "Swallow." Actually, you can't do that, either but don't you wish you could! <snicker>

"BUT when the start destroying you personal property with power tools, well I could get very upset about that."

BUT you STILL can't shoot! This guy's in The Republik of Kalifornia. They'd crucify him!
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Old June 4, 2008, 03:34 PM   #9
GoSlash27
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Locking gas cap. $7 at your local Auto Zone.

Really, the thought of applying deadly force over a few dollars worth of gas..
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Old June 4, 2008, 03:47 PM   #10
daisey53
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The Houston, Texas area like most other places has seen a huge rise in the theft of metals such as copper from air conditioners and local scap yards are now required to take thumb prints from those bringing in scrap. Another problem is jerks using battery powered "saws all" to cut the catalytic converters off of high clearance vehicles. One news report two weeks back stated that an agile thief can crawl under a truck and cut off the catalytic converter in less than 60 seconds. The next day you'll know its gone the second you start the motor. I'm seriously considering a motion sensor for the alarm system on my truck. Shooting is not an option....yet. ..Tobias
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Old June 4, 2008, 03:50 PM   #11
SilentHitz
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As stated above, I have a locking cap...and $100 isn't a "few dollars" to someone on a fixed income. When they start using a cordless drill...that's big bucks they're costing me that I don't have.

If it was just $20 or $30 bucks I wouldn't get as steamed, but it cost me $100 bucks every time they steal what I worked hard for...that adds up, and a repair bill for a damaged gas tank is more than I can afford.
Quote:
This guy's in The Republik of Kalifornia. They'd crucify him!
And I thank God I don't live there.

Last edited by SilentHitz; June 4, 2008 at 04:24 PM. Reason: Added quote
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Old June 4, 2008, 05:04 PM   #12
BillCA
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Quote:
Walk up behind the guy real quiet-like. Rack the slide, place the muzzle against the back of his neck and simply say, "Swallow." Actually, you can't do that, either but don't you wish you could! <snicker>
Thanks Keltyke. Now I have to mop off my keyboard!

Yeah, I'm in CA and that makes it even worse. Thirty years ago or so, when we had the first OPEC embargo, a neighbor of mine snuck up behind a guy siphoning gas out of his Suburban at 3:30am and cocked the hammer on his SAA .45 about a foot away. The poor kid literally crapped himself.

I'm thinking that upon catching someone in the act a good dose of pepper spray will work. A full can oughta do it. Especially if you can soak the crotch or underarms before he "escapes".

My neighbor runs his own landscaping service and someone not only siphoned out his truck's fuel, but got into his trailer and took gas cans and fuel from the equipment -- while he was working behind the building. He's now imitating Buford Pusser by keeping an axe handle nearby.
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Last edited by BillCA; June 4, 2008 at 07:21 PM.
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Old June 4, 2008, 05:13 PM   #13
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Problem with pepper spray is you could kill someone with it, and, you would be liable, that's civil, and, possible criminal charges of assault and battery.

Remember, in civil court, you take the plaintiff as they are. If you cause a death by hitting someone who has a thin skull, or, spraying someone with an allergy to pepper spray, you better have a defense of self-defense to justify the action.

That said, bear spray, a big can, taser, stun gun, all might be better choices.

However, remember, the problem here is the very little amount of the theft, and, unless you can show you knew he was doing serious damage to your Porsche 928, or something, you have a problem.

Dog sounds good, security camera, motion sensor lights, etc.

Generally using potentially deadly force to stop someone engaged in a misdeameanor is not going to put you in good shape in court...
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Old June 4, 2008, 05:43 PM   #14
jfrey123
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Does the phrase 'Don't taze me Bro!' apply to a fella who's laying under your car, dripping in gasoline?


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Old June 4, 2008, 06:02 PM   #15
swk314
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You could always pop a flare gun off in the puddle of gas. But seriously, I wouldn't shoot anyone over gas, even though I would be seriously ****** off. Especially since I drive a Tahoe with a huge tank.
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Old June 4, 2008, 06:10 PM   #16
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True, but then I would have to find another reasonably priced wheelchair accessible van...and they aren't that easy to find.
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Old June 4, 2008, 06:30 PM   #17
Tanzer
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Time for the makers of security cameras to bring the price down to where they become a staple item. My place in Maine got busted into last month and they made sure to take all the propane. Sure would be nice to have their mug on a policeman's laptop.
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Old June 4, 2008, 06:43 PM   #18
tplumeri
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adjacent to my property my "neighbor" has a shop and parks a kenworth tractor out back.
my dogs were going crazy one nite and i went to see why.
the three dogs had cornered a guy between the kenworth and the building.
the hose from the kenworth side tank went to a hand pump in the bed of a pick-up.
I let the dogs keep him pinned and called the sheriff.
those side tanks hold over 100 gallons of diesel. at $3.50/gal..........
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Old June 4, 2008, 07:04 PM   #19
RedneckFur
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I think i'm ready to buy a locking gas cap now. I live in an apartment complex. If my make my truck a little harder to steal gas from, they'll just move on to somone else. I've got a "family size" can of bear spray here too. Me thinks i'll put it by the door.
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Old June 4, 2008, 08:26 PM   #20
Spade Cooley
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Sometimes there is justice. A neighbor left his riding mower sit outside all winter and the gas was contaminated with water. He drained it into a lagre gas can and set it on his porch. Some scum bag came along late at night and took it. He is most likely stalled somewhere trying to figure out why his car won't start.
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Old June 4, 2008, 08:40 PM   #21
fortkevin2
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Around here the rise in stealing gas is up from what i can tell. It has happened to my girlfriend, her father and numerous other people. She drives a 04 Volvo S60 and they pried open the gas tank door to get to hers. she didn't notice and neither did i until i went to fill her up and i looked down and could see where the latch was and it was gone. Got her a locking cap the next day.
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Old June 5, 2008, 01:36 AM   #22
pgg
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In California (especially the Bay Area) you would be hard pressed to justify using pepper spray to prevent the theft of gas. If you do expect to wind up with battery charges at a minimum.
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Old June 5, 2008, 02:19 AM   #23
jfrey123
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Quote:
100 gallons of diesel. at $3.50/gal..........
We're up to $4.40 if you find it cheap for diesel. Now think about this also: A big rig semi can usually hold 300 gallons of fuel (gramps was a long haul truck driver). 300 gallons x $4.40 comes to $1,320. Does memory serve me correctly, and Gross Larceny is stealing a dollar amount above $1,200? Seems to me that fuel theft is quickly going to become more than just a small time crime.

Nevada law is written that one is allowed to protect life and property. However, when gas first hit $2.00/gal (ah the good ol' days :barf: ) a man here in Reno came out of his house after spotting a father/son team ripping off his gas. He peppered their pickup with buckshot as the son ran to the waiting father's truck, and he ended up in jail real quick.

Moral of the story is take your preferred weapon with you to investigate the bumps in the night, but be prepared not to use it. If you catch a gas thief in the act and he runs, you're likely stuck letting him go. The only time I can see lethal force being used appropriately in most jurisdictions would be if they come at you after you tell them to stop, and that you're calling the cops. At that point, they're attacking you and a more violent crime is being committed than 'petty' gasoline theft.
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Old June 5, 2008, 02:40 AM   #24
ziggy222
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wow.sounds like in kalifornia the criminals win.i'm in pa but anyway i always wondered or at least since my car was broke into for cigeretts if i could hold someone at gun point till the cops got there to arrest them,or if the cops would just arrest them and me both.for all you pepper spray users out there,remember that spray is conciddered a weapon as well.i'm pretty sure it can only be used to save your life.
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Old June 5, 2008, 04:08 AM   #25
moose fat
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Locks and vandal proof motion detector lights and sometimes that doesn't work.

I work for the city and we've been having this problem for fourteen years. The fuel barge just droped off fuel and gas, yahoo( a sarcastic yahoo). Today gas went from $4.85/gal to $6.93 and diesel fuel delivered went to $7.15. Figure that one.

Also what I have been doing is to just put two or three gallons in the tank, enough to last a day or two.
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