EXCLUSIVE: Oakland woman chases suspects who used drill to break into husband's gas tank

"It shows that times are tough, but it's still no excuse to do something like that."

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Monday, June 27, 2022
EXCLUSIVE: Thieves caught stealing gasoline from SUV in Oakland
A suspect throws a hammer at a Bay Area woman's car after she catches them stealing gas from her husband's SUV. Then, the victim chases the suspects.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Gas prices are high, and now troubling news of gas being stolen out of someone's vehicle in Oakland.

The victim says the thieves recently broke into the SUV and the gas tank of that SUV.

"That's what we doing? That's what we doing?"

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Police say many of the thieves drive to California to sell the stolen gas on the black market.

Tense moments as a hammer is thrown at a car in Oakland after Cyerca Pannell says she caught two individuals inside her husband's SUV after they not only broke into it, but also busted into that SUV's gas tank too. One that had a lock on it.

"You hear stories like this, you don't actually see it, so you're doing something to try to prevent it by putting a lock on it, and then realizing that people are still able to get to your gas by drilling to it," says Pannell.

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It happened on 35th Avenue in the Laurel neighborhood of Oakland where Pannell's mom lives. The SUV was parked on a street in the area. Pannell noticed the doors were open and yelled towards the people inside, who got in their white SUV and drove off.

Pannell says she then got into her car a short time later and noticed the two appearing to canvas the neighborhood. Upon confronting them, the woman took out a red hammer and hit her car.

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High gas prices or not, Pannell believes they took about half a tank of gas and says that is just wrong.

"It shows that times are tough but it's still no excuse to do something like that because you don't know what that person is going through and how tough it is for them. I mean it's tough for us, too, but we're not going around stealing people's gas," says Pannell.

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We've blurred out the faces of the two that Pannell recorded on video because police have not named them as suspects. Pannell says she has filed a police report, gave Oakland Police the video showing the license plate number and two individuals in question, but has heard nothing back from OPD who had no new info for us as of Sunday night.

She's speaking now to warn others.

"It's just unfortunate that people, you know, are able to do things like this and at the end of the day, really just get away with it," says Pannell.

At this point, it's unclear if the individuals siphoned the gasoline out of the car or what method they used.

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