High prices at the pump are fueling a trend of gas thefts in Glendale, police warn.
“We have had 14 of them in the past two weeks, mostly in the south part of Glendale,” said Sgt. Tom Lorenz, with the Glendale Police Department.
Most of the thefts involve SUVs and other large vehicles that are high enough off the ground to have a gas tank underneath. Even tamperproof tanks on the newer model vehicles are not stopping the thieves, Lorenz said.
“They are cutting the gas line and then sticking another tube into that line that goes into the gas tank and siphoning from under the vehicle,” he said.
Police say the fuel is either used or, in some cases, sold on the black market. Either way, authorities say it’s a dangerous crime.
“Usually only a five-gallon can and if that’s a large SUV with a 40-gallon tank, they are spilling gas all over the roadway and becoming an environmental hazard and a fire hazard,” Lorenz said.
One witness may have surprised the thieves. She was able to capture a photo of a silver Chrysler minivan leaving an area where a gas theft was reported on N. Keniworth Avenue. A gas can was still under the vehicle.
Police expect the crimes to continue. The last wave of gas thefts in Southern California was in 2008, when gas prices hit an all-time high.