Fuel Tank Drilling Is The Hot New Car Theft Trend Sweeping The Nation
You can’t siphon gas like the old days, so thieves have turned to different, more destructive methods.Chances are your local news affiliate has already reported on it happening in your neighborhood: criminals drilling into and draining gas tanks to steal the sweet, expensive nectar inside, leaving their victims with not only no fuel but also a hefty repair bill. It happened to one Pennsylvania woman, who said the thief stole the gas right out of her Nissan Rogue as it sat parked outside her home. There are similar stories coming out of California, too, and Missouri, and Wisconsin.
We’ve seen this before, and you could probably guess when. ABC reported on a similar trend back in 2008, when gas breached $4 a gallon – about $5.30 today. During the fuel crisis of the ’70s, thieves would simply siphon gas out of tanks with a hose, though modern vehicles incorporate rollover valves and, in some cases, lockable caps to deter that behavior. There’s no deterrent for a drill and a plastic container however, which is why the modern approach has proven considerably more frustrating.
Well, there is one: a low ride height. High-riding crossovers, SUVs and trucks are most vulnerable to draining via drilling because they offer ample room for criminals to get to work. If you drive something that’s especially at risk, which is probably most Americans nowadays, police recommend parking with the back of your car facing the lot, ideally in a well-lit area. They also apparently recommend lockable caps which, again, is pretty irrelevant in this case.
Being put out for a tank’s worth of gas is one thing; being put out for the tank itself, which could cost upwards of $1,000 to replace, is another. You could try to repair it for a quick fix – and there are clever solutions out there – but a hole that large, caused by a cordless drill, isn’t easy or advisable to patch up. And then there’s the risk of fire from your car hemorrhaging flammable liquid all over the place.
LEGO Technic Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
If you’re anything like I was as a kid, you’ll do this purposefully against a wall to watch it shatter apart. Then put it back together to do it all over again. Though what’s different from when I was little is this LEGO model car can pair with an augmented reality app on your phone. Attempt a series of fun challenges prompted within the app with your newly built car.
Fortunately, insurance policies that cover vandalism will likely recognize a drilled fuel tank as a deliberate and malicious act. Unfortunately, trying to implement a quick fix might compromise your ability to be reimbursed for the damage, because insurance is great. Let’s not forget that catalytic converters are still hot for their troves of precious metals – not to mention the unending state of the market – and this has got to be one of the worst times to own a car maybe ever.