SJ thieves puncture holes in gas tanks

April 21, 2008 2:16:33 PM PDT
There will be no deliveries for two dry-cleaning vans in San Jose. Their gas tanks were drained to the last drop by gas thieves.

Police see increases in gasoline thefts whenever pump prices spike. And right now local gas prices are sky-high. AAA says San Francisco has the highest prices in the nation averaging $3.98 a gallon, in Oakland regular unleaded goes for $3.86, its $3.88 in San Jose.

Police officers say this same thing happened last week at the Second Harvest Food Bank in San Jose. With gas prices at record highs, this could be the beginning of a trend.

It was quite a mess in a parking lot off Winchester Boulevard in San Jose, this morning.

"This is a foolish way to obtain any kind of fuel," said Capt. Tom Gianatasio, San Jose fire department.

Investigators say two thieves poked holes in the gas tanks of these dry cleaning delivery vans and put buckets underneath to catch the fuel.

"I have to cleanup the mess and try and get my vans on the road as quickly as possible. People do want to get their clothes," said Larry Shifman, owner, 1-800-DRY-CLEAN.

The five gallons or so of gas the thieves made off with are worth a lot more these days. AAA shows San Francisco has the highest average gas prices in the nation at $3.98 a gallon. Premium is at $4.30 a gallon.

Taxi driver Anwar Hared has no choice but to pay up. Even though he can't pass on the costs to his customers.

"The meter rate is the same in this county. I heard some Bay Area cities the rate went up, but not in San Mateo county. Its still $2.50 to start and every mile is $2.50," said Anwar Hared, taxi driver.

Industry analysts say prices could surge another 30 cents per gallon over the next few weeks. It could be enough to drive Anwar to make some tough decisions.

"I'm looking for another job now, seriously," said Anwar Hared.

So far this year, gas prices have gone up 53 cents.


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