More Gas Tanks Vandalized In Sioux Falls
by Jill Johnson
January 17, 2013 10:44 AM
Police are looking for the person or persons responsible for several vandalisms in Sioux Falls. Police say they've gotten seven different reports of cars receiving damage to their fuel tanks.
Emily Sorenson says she noticed there was a problem Saturday morning.
Sorenson said, "When I was trying to turn on my vehicle I kinda felt like, it smelt like it was flooded."
Her car simply wouldn't start. Then, she noticed the puddle surrounding her car.
"It's a huge area of gas laying on the ground. You can tell it soaked into the asphalt," said Sorenson.
But it wasn't until the fire department came, that she found out what actually happened.
Sorenson said, "When I went to have it towed, that's when the fire department came because of the gas spill and they climbed underneath and took a look at it."
They discovered that someone had punctured holes into her fuel tank. And she isn't the only victim.
Since Jan. 8, police have recieved seven reports similar to Sorenson's, all vehicles in apartment complex's on the southwest side of town.
Vandalisms were reported on the 3000 block of South Louise Avenue, the 4700 block of South Oxbow Avenue, the 4200 block of South Theodore Avenue and the 4900 Block South Klein Avenue. Other reports include one on the 3300 Block of West 53rd and two on the 3300 block of West Valhalla.
Police say they can only speculate that it's all in an effort to steal gas and how they're collecting it is also just a guess.
So far, all of the vehicles that have been targeted have been larger vehicles and officials at Vern Eide say it could be because it allows for easier access.
Vern Eide Service Manager Gregg Allison said, "It's easier for them to craw underneath and it gives room in between the ground and the gas tank and the drill."
Allison says they have the task of fixing Sorenson's car, along with three other fuel tanks. Made of plastic, he says, it's an easy crime to commit.
"All you need is a cordless drill, looks like a 3/8 inch drill bit. It would take you all of about 20 seconds to drill through there," said Allison.
However, it's not an easy fix.
Allison said, "This fuel tank alone is about $1,100 without the labor to install it."
But it's not the money Sorenson is concerned about, she says the vandalisms are putting others at risk.
Sorenson said, "Even just the slightest static electricity could cause a spark. That's my concern. I just don't want anybody to get hurt."
Allison at Vern Eide says the fuel tanks that they've seen are being punctured on the bottom. However, one of them was drilled on the side. Not all of the gas had drained out of the tank and the man driving the vehicle didn't realize something was wrong until he got to the gas station and was putting fuel in his car.