Colorado Springs woman finds gas tank drilled into by thieves

Published: May. 9, 2022 at 1:11 AM MDT|Updated: May. 9, 2022 at 5:48 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - As gas prices continue to soar, so does a certain kind of crime. Police say it’s becoming more common for thieves to drill into your fuel tank to steal your gas. Officers in Las Vegas are even warning residents about this crime.

One Colorado Springs woman recently fell victim to fuel theft. Helen Thompson says she found out the hard way when her car stopped in the middle of the road.

“I got in the car and drove down to almost Fillmore and Nevada and the car stopped and I thought, ‘What’s going on?’ I looked down and, you know, my gas thing said it was empty,” said Thompson.

Once she got to a gas station to refill, she figured out the problem.

“We went back and poured it into the tank and it just poured out onto the ground,” said Thompson. “It was just spraying out.”

Someone had cut into her fuel tank.

“I think they don’t care. Don’t care about the consequences of their own heart ... they just don’t care. They want the gas. They are desperate people,” she told 11 News.

Colorado Springs police say this is a crime that is on the rise. Here are the number of gas tanks drilled in the past few years:

2018: 2

2019: 1

2021: 53

2022: 95 as of May 6

“Whenever we see a large spike in something like gas, we will see that kind of increase,” said Lt. Jim Sokolik with the Colorado Springs Police Department.

Sokolik says this crime costs victims more than a tank of gas.

“It’s really the damage to their property and potentially their livelihood to get to and from work or go pick up the kids and do all those things that we need to do with our vehicles -- that’s the real crime that’s occurring here.”

Thompson says she’s lucky her insurance covered most of the cost. She only had to pay a $500 deductible. However, it took a few weeks to get her car repaired.

“I forgive them because I don’t know what they’ve been through,” she said.

Police have some advice for you on how you can prevent this from happening to your own car:

“Obviously park someplace well lit, someplace that has, you know, people walking by. That decreases the likelihood that the vehicle is going to be involved in any kind of crime,” said Sokolik.

Police say gas stations are also falling victim to this crime. Some thieves are stealing straight from the pump, which can cost businesses thousands of dollars.

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