Serial gas thief on the loose in Westsyde

KAMLOOPS – Someone began siphoning gas from vehicles in Westsyde last weekend and police are now on the lookout for the gas thief, or thieves.

According to Cpl. Cheryl Bush she is aware of five vehicle owners who have come forward to report they had fuel drained from their gas tanks on Feb. 15. She adds there could be more though and reports on a local community watch group indicate there likely is.

Bush says the cases all occurred in the Westsyde neighbourhood. Three of the incidents happened near Westsyde Road, Wawn Road and Ida Lane.

“It’s highly likely that they’re related,” she adds.

It’s unknown if a certain type of vehicle is the target for the suspects though Bush says she knows gas was stolen from two pickups and one SUV. If a suspect is caught, Bush says he or she could face charges of mischief, theft and causing damage to property.

Michelle Hargrave, a spokesperson for ICBC, says the stolen gas would not be covered under insurance but coverage would extend to any damage to the vehicle caused by forced entry into the gas tank. Mechanic Antonio Ramunno from Ramunno Auto says punching a hole in the tank made from plastic can cost the vehicle owner approximately $500 to $1,000 to replace. Drilling into a gas tank is a fire hazard, he adds. 

“It could take up to 20 minutes (to siphon the tank),” Ramunno says adding it would depend on the hose and the amount of fuel to drain.

Bush advises to report any suspicious activity to the RCMP detachment at 250-828-3000. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 250-828-3215.

To contact a reporter for this story, email, or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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