My car was messed with today -- old school style

I grew up in NYC and have lived here most of my life, and have retained a few habits from the “old days” when crime was more rampant: I carry “mugger’s money” (money kept separate from my wallet, so I can fork over $20 or so on demand – even though I’ve never actually been mugged it’s something was taught to do), and leave my car doors unlocked and keep nothing of value in the car (so that someone who is bent on robbing my car won’t have to break any windows to do it), with a removable face car radio (though I rarely bother to remove the face when parking any more).

Well this morning my wife found that, for the first time in 15 years, my car has been searched through, the one that I park in the street (as opposed to in my driveway/garage). They didn’t take the change stash though, or even the radio. No, they popped the gas cap release and siphoned our fuel tank.

I didn’t have a car back in the late 70s/early 80s (being less than 10 years old) so this particular crime had only been oral history to me. Now… It’s baaack…

Yep, I’ve got someone getting into mine as well. I’m going to go this weekend and get a locking gascap. My wife thinks I’m imagining all the missing gass, but if I end up with a broken off gas flap, or a key swipe down the side of my car, I can tell her I told you so. Of course, I’m not sure the damage I’ll likely get is worth the missing gas. God I hate thiefs.


My ex-wife had that happen to her not once but twice just recently. She went out and bought a gas cap with a key lock on it. I didn’t even know they made those things.

Around here, gas thieves have moved on to tapping the tank directly.

Locking gas caps are old hat - now we need fuel tank armor to make it harder for them to drill a hole and drain it.

Seems to me I’d be a wee bit nervous drilling into a gas tank. :eek:

robardin, that really sucks.

I am always amazed at how little respect some people have for others property.

Cutting the fuel lines is one of the ways they steal gas out here in Las Vegas. I haven’t heard of anyone drilling into a tank to drain it :eek: that is even crazier than cutting the fuel lines.

::knocks on wood:: Thankfully, I haven’t had anyone try to steal gas from my vehicle.

Fuel theft out here is common at businesses that have work trucks parked outside at night and over the weekend where they are largely unattended. On one of the trucks at one of my old jobs, someone has cut the fuel line 2 times in the past year to get at the gas.

Nobody has stolen my fuel, or anything from inside my car, but some swine has nicked my front fog light (the bulb and plastic cover).

Yeah, I had that happen the year gas went from $1 to $2 in the span of a couple of months. The asshat also took my gas cap! I replaced it with a locking one.

Well I did have someone pry up the hood once to take the HID headlights on this very car five or six years ago, back when it was a rarer, more expensive thing to have. That’s why when I park the car in the street I park as close to the car in front of me as possible, so there’s no clearance for someone to stand in front and jimmy with the headlights.

Since liquid gasoline isn’t flammable, and drilling doesn’t tend to cause a lot of sparks anyway, I don’t think there’s a huge risk of blowing yourself up by drilling into the bottom of a gas tank. I wouldn’t do it, but then again I believe in paying for the things I need.

Wouldn’t it be dangerous if you were low on gas, though, and the tank was full of fumes?

Maybe. I’m no expert in any relevant field, but I have a couple thoughts.

-You would quit drilling as soon as you pierced through the tank, so unless it was extremely close to bone-dry, but not bone-dry (unlikely), you wouldn’t hit fumes. Furthermore, the site of friction would be submerged unless the tank were totally empty.

-I’m not sure if modern gas tanks are even made of metal. I know old ones were, but I don’t know about new ones.

-I’ve been building an offroad car for the last year, and I’ve had to do a lot of drilling through metal, and I’ve yet to see a spark. It just doesn’t seem like the kind of contact that commonly causes a lot of sparks.

We had someone on this board that was having a problem with his gas disappearing. He ended up finding a hole in his gas tank with tape over it. The theif was just taking gas out every night.

And here it is

I would like to point out that if the thief is using an electric drill, even a battery powered one, the the motor is full of sparks. Also as the drill bit starts to pierce the tank, the first bit of gas will probably flash to vapor. Gas vapor is heavier than air. It is quite likely the drill is being held below the hole.

So remember folks, when stealing gas, be sure to hold the drill upside down, and it’s probably best if you wrap a plastic bag around the body of the drill. And go slow.

Last Tuesday, about 2:45 am, flashlights came through our bedroom window & something knocked against the wall. Hearing “this is the Township Police…” we did our not-quite-awake-where-are-the-keys-where-are-my-pants thing. A few minutes later, we found that both my car (a '95 Mustang) and my husband’s (older Chevy) truck had been broken into by a teenager. A neighbor down the road had called the police, who had chased the kid through two yards and down toward our driveway, where the kid sent up a here-I-am-Officer flare.

You can see the back ends of our vehicles from the street. The pursuing officer saw my brake lights flash. The miscreant had, I guess, hit the brake pedal while trying to jimmy the ignition on my car. Bright boy.

We go to court on Tuesday.

Love, Phil