Thieves Use 'Trap Door' To Steal 1,000 Gallons Of Diesel From Gas Station

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A family-owned gas station in Texas says a group of thieves used a "trap door" to make off with more than 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

The manager of the southwest Houston gas station told ABC 13 News he realized something was wrong after taking the daily inventory of the gas station's underground fuel tanks last week.

"The first day, I saw there was 360 gallons that was missing," Fuqua Express manager Jerry Thayil told the outlet. "The next day, the same thing thing, so we started looking at the cameras."

The station's security cameras caught a van driving and parking over the fuel tank lids, but nobody exited the vehicle. That's when Thayil realized the thieves were using a "trap door."

"They have a trap door inside their vehicle which is crazy. They have to have another man inside (the vehicle) to open our fuel tank, stick a hose in there," Thayil explained.

The gas station manager also believes another vehicle, a Porsche SUV is involved with the scheme, serving as a lookout car while the gas is syphoned out of the underground tanks.

When the van came back for a fourth time, Thayil says he chased the vehicle away.

"I didn't want to just let them hit us again and lose another $1,200, $1,300," Thayil told CNN. "We're a family-owned business, so every penny counts here."

Thayil estimates the business lost between $5,000 and $6,000 worth of diesel.

The Houston Police Department confirmed to USA Today that they are investigating the incident and have received at least two reports of similar gas station thefts in the same area since September 2021.

The fuel theft comes amid record-high gas prices spurred by the war in Ukraine. The national average spiked over $4 a gallon for the first time since 2005 earlier this month.

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