One particular crime is getting a lot of attention from small businesses in Redding. Under the cover of night crooks are siphoning gas off of commercial vehicles. The fuel only costs the company a few dollars but the damage to vehicles is what's upsetting owners.
Siphoning fuel is not a new crime by any means, what's different is how often it’s happening. It hit close to home Monday morning when the action news live van became the latest target. Everything is still operational but it calls attention to a growing problem.
Spilled fuel, a removed cap, and piece of garden hose is the only evidence in an attempted siphoning. It's the first time action news has been hit, unlike other companies.
“Well last week it happened twice and I would say this year so far we have probably been hit about 10 times,” said Terry Alvord, owner of Carmona’s Appliance Center. He says his delivery trucks are a constant target for gas thieves.
“Oh I would say probably about 1500-2000 dollars so far this year (in repairs),” said Alvord.
The fuel is not all that expensive; thieves are walking away with about 15 dollars worth. What's costly is the damage they do when they cut the fuel lines.
“Our damage has run us about 125 bucks a truck and that is just a quick fix,” said Alvord.
“If it has a locking cap, they will just go underneath and cut the rubber hose, that way they do not have to deal with the small unleaded hole in there, because they can just stick it right into the tank,” said Patrick Wallner, who’s company has also been hit. He uses video surveillance as a deterrent but says you can only add so much security.
“I just don’t want to have this place look like downtown Los Angeles, with barbed wire and razor wire,” said Wallner.
A security system has too high of a price tag for Carmona’s, instead they plan to install a cage around the fuel lines so thieves don't have access.
Compared to other businesses, action news got lucky. The gas tank on our live truck was not completely drained. The thief left behind the hose he used as a siphon, so it’s possible he was just scared off.