Gas tank thefts on the rise after Surrey man catches another alleged fuel theft on video

The pain at the pumps in Metro Vancouver may be leading to a crime wave as drivers try to cut down on fuel costs.

A Surrey man now says he’s been the victim of a gas tank theft after allegedly catching the thieves on surveillance video — just days after a Maple Ridge man reported a similar crime.

Tapinder Tiwana says he returned from vacation to his Bolivar Heights home Monday to find the tank on his Ford Explorer had been punctured, with the gas inside completely siphoned.

“It looks like it’s just a puncture to the tank, and they jammed it up with some material so on the outside it doesn’t look like much damage,” he said.

Tiwana then checked his surveillance video from Sunday morning, in which he saw a man crouch behind the parked car with what appears to be an oil pan around 4:30 a.m.

An hour later, the same man is seen returning with a second man and a large bucket. The two then leave with the bucket full of what Tiwana alleges is the gas from his tank.

A damage assessment is underway, but Tiwana says it’s the inconvenience of seeing his family vehicle get grounded that’s made him most upset.

“Now our vehicle has to be repaired and we need to pay the deductible, all for $50 to $75 worth of gas these guys took away,” he said.

Tiwana’s report comes after Maple Ridge resident John Peters told Global News he found a hole in his tank after filling up his truck Sunday night.

“I put $130 gas in it,” he said. “I come home, hit the Golden Ears Bridge, I notice there’s half a tank of gas left in my tank. So I’m thinking something’s going on.

“Sure enough, three-eighths of an inch hole in my gas tank.”

Police agencies across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, including Surrey and Maple Ridge, say they haven’t noticed a marked increase in gas tank theft reports.

But with gas prices rocketing well past $1.70, police are urging people to be vigilant and report any thefts or information immediately.

Gas experts said this week, the record prices are expected to last well into the summer, with $1.60 likely being the lowest drivers could see for now.

Those analysts have continued to point to the region’s reliance on gasoline from outside the province and the increasing carbon tax as factors.

— With files from Grace Ke, Janet Brown and Simon Little

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