Thousands of gallons: Thieves using modified trucks to steal from gas stations, police say

Record prices are making gas a target for criminals. Police said modified vehicles are being used to steal fuel. (Source: KVVU)
Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 3:36 PM CDT
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LAS VEGAS (KVVU/Gray News) - Record prices are making gas a big target for criminals.

KVVU reports that highly modified vehicles are currently being used to steal tens of thousands of gallons of fuel from gas stations.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said it is a huge problem, one they are determined to stop.

“Unfortunately, with the rise in fuel prices, we have an increase in fuel theft,” LVMPD Lt. Jeff Swanbeck said.

Authorities said some gas stations have been hit for thousands of gallons.

“That is thousands of dollars in losses for these gas stations, and sometimes it almost gets to the point where it puts them out of business,” Swanbeck said.

The LVMPD said some of the modified vehicles look like standard trucks from the outside.

“These thieves are very sophisticated. They will take a truck that looks just like a normal truck, like a freeway service truck, and add intricate pipping inside of them,” Swanbeck said.

One makeshift gas tanker towing a horse trailer was filled with tanks of stolen fuel. Officers said they stopped it outside of Las Vegas while it was on the way to California.

Investigators said thieves have been stealing gas in plain sight, in front of people filling up at the pump, who have no idea a crime is being committed right next to them.

“They will open up the gas pump itself, and there is a series of gears inside. They are smart enough to figure out how to manipulate the gears,” Swanbeck said.

Authorities said if a truck is at the gas pump for hours, which is often how long it takes to steal thousands of gallons, something questionable is happening.

“If somebody pays with a $20 gift card and they are pumping gas for over an hour, that should be suspicious. If something looks funny or if you see anybody open the side of a gas pump, let the clerk know, let authorities know,” Swanbeck said.

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