Pumping Gas

One northern Alberta criminal is lucky to be alive after puncturing gas tanks to steal a few dollars worth of fuel.

Several residents in an Anzac condo building awoke on March 20 to discover pools of gasoline under their trucks, and once full gas tanks now reading “empty.”

A thief had wandered into the building’s parkade overnight and taken a knife to the gas tanks of five pickup trucks.

Police suspect the crook responsible wasn’t running on a full tank of gas, in more ways than one.

“This probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do,” said Cpl. George Cameron with the Wood Buffalo RCMP.

The thief crawled under the trucks to puncture the hard steel shells of the gas tanks, then collected whatever fuel poured out.

A single spark from the force of the blade, and the clueless criminal could have literally gone up in flames.

Cameron said its clear the rewards of the theft were certainly not worth the risks.

“As we all know, sparks and fumes don’t mix. They could cause a fire and not only hurt themselves, but someone else.”

The suspect in this case didn’t walk away with gallons of gas. A broken jerry can was found nearby. “Who knows how much they actually got.”

Gasoline thefts are usually done by siphoning, by opening the gas cap and snaking a hose down into the tank. But Cameron said that’s not as easy as it used to be.

“A lot of the newer vehicles come with a theft prevention type gas cover, so it does make it harder for people to siphon right out of the tank.”

Cameron said the crime, which was reported publicly for the first time last week, is “quite unique.”

“I can’t recall if this has ever happened before in the Fort McMurray area,” he said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Wood Buffalo RCMP detachment or Crime Stoppers.

Anzac is 48 kilometres southeast of Fort McMurray.