Tips to prevent gas thefts

WASHINGTON – After more than a dozen gas thefts regionally — some of which involved holes in gas tanks — AAA Mid-Atlantic warns drivers to be extra careful.

A drilled hole in a gas tank can cause an explosion. AAA said drivers need to make sure they look for gasoline dripping from their vehicles, and they need to be cognizant of the smell of gasoline.

Drivers who smell gasoline should pull over immediately and inspect the gas tank underneath their cars. AAA says don’t attempt to continue driving the vehicle. Call your repair place or a tow company right away.

An Annapolis man faces theft charges for allegedly drilling a hole in a work van and stealing 30 gallons of fuel.

Annapolis Police said Keith Taylor, 24, had power tools in a black bag, along with an extension cord and a 5-foot fiberglass pole when they stopped him.

Police stopped his car because it matched one on a surveillance video where a car was leaving the scene of a gas theft.

When officers stopped him, Taylor admitted to police he stole the gas because he needed it. He’s charged with theft, rogue and vagabond and malicious destruction of property. AAA says drivers need to be aware of their surroundings. Watch for odd behavior around driveways, parking lots and streets, including people looking into parked vehicles and carrying tools or containers.

AAA offers these other tips to prevent gas thefts:

  • Buy a locking gas cap device.
  • Buy a vehicle with a factory-equipped remote locking fuel-filler door.
  • Park inside attended parking lots and leave only the door ignition/door key with the attendant. Lock the glove box, if possible.
  • Check your fuel gauge when returning.
  • Park inside the Metro garages.
  • Don’t leave vehicles running.
  • Change routines. Park in different places.
  • Park in lighted areas at night.

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WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report. Follow Kristi and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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