East Bay

Wave of Gas Thefts Hit Solano County Residents

A series of thefts in the North Bay is leaving gas tanks on empty and drivers fired up.

Thieves have found ways around locked gas caps by drilling right into car gas tanks. Police in Benicia recently caught a gas thief in the act.

"It's unbelievable for me," Pastor David Isom said. "It's absolutely unbelievable."

Isom still cannot get over what happened to his church van two weeks ago. When staff were set to drive churchgoers to a funeral, they discovered the van's gas had been siphoned out from the tank underneath.

"They actually got under the van and drilled a hole," Isom said. "I've never seen anything like it."

The sam van had been hit back in June. Isom said the thief left his tools behind that time and surveillance cameras captured a shadowy image of the suspect.

Rod Johnson's van has been hit twice as well while parked in two different Solano County park and ride lots.

"Once they drilled a hole in the fuel tank and the other time they cut a hole in the fuel pipe and siphoned gas out of it," Johnson said.

Benicia police this past weekend said they caught a gas thief suspect in the act after neighbors called to report suspicious activity. Police said the man was using gas cans, a drill and a plastic pumpkin to collect the fuel.

A truck just a few miles away was also recently hit while parked in a Benicia driveway. The owner woke up to find gas pouring out of the tank. While police haven't connected the suspect they arrested to other cases, those who have been victimized said they are relieved at least one person has been caught.

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