BATTLE GROUND, Wash. (KOIN) — Tonyray Vito had his Chevy Silverado parked in his driveway at his home Saturday night when a man drilled into his gas tank and caused about $1500 in damage.
“I have a video of this man under my truck drilling a hole into my gas tank,” Vito told KOIN 6 News. “It definitely was upsetting. And then it was even more upsetting to find out it happened to multiple neighbors of mine.”
His neighbors in the Creekside Heights community also had their gas siphoned from their cars or their tank drilled into, as well.
Sgt. Chris Skidmore with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office said they see this kind of crime intermittently and suggest people do what they can to protect their cars.
“How quick someone can be up underneath there, most gas tanks on modern cars are plastic. That doesn’t take a lot of effort to be able to get into there,” Skidmore said.
He had a few easy tips to keep gas thieves away.
“Parking in lit areas, the automated lights that you might have up on your garage if you can’t park your car in the garage,” he said. “Obviously, if you can park it inside that’s better or behind a fence or something. Anything you can do to make that access a little more difficult.”
In Vito’s case, the thief only got about 3/4 of a tank of gas — and a lot of it was spilled down the driveway.
“It was going through the drains and it smelled like gas all day,” Vito said. “It was pretty terrible, for sure.”
The sheriff’s office suspects it is a small group or isolated groups doing this and it’s not particularly widespread. But they stressed it’s important to report all incidents and send in as much video as possible to help officers find trends and build a case.
As for Tonyray Vito, he said he is going to install more security systems and take the rack off his truck so he can fit it in his garage.