The manager of a family-owned gas station in Houston, Texas, says thieves targeted the business’s diesel fuel on four days last week, stealing more than 1,000 gallons. The thefts allegedly occurred on consecutive days in which the national gas price average repeatedly broke all-time highs.
Fuqua Express gas station manager Jerry Thayil told KTRK that he first noticed something was awry while conducting daily inventory on the underground fuel storage tanks.
“The first day, I saw there was 360 gallons that was missing. Then the next day, same thing, so we started looking at the cameras,” he said.
Thayil said a dark-colored van was seen parking over the underground storage containers on the dates of March 8-10 — days in which the national average price for a gallon of gas broke all-time records — and siphoned 360 gallons each day.
“They hit us like the days we were paying like a real premium on the diesel fuel,” Thayil told the outlet. “Altogether it was about $5,000.”
He noted he believes a Porsche SUV was also involved in the alleged operation, serving as a lookout:
The lookout and the van that is pumping the fuel out, they come at the same time. The van drives on top of the fuel tank and that’s all you see. Nobody comes out, so they have a trapped door inside their vehicle which is crazy. They have to have another man inside (the vehicle) to open our fuel tank, stick a hose in there.
Thayil told KPRC that the van came back on March 11 when he was on high alert.
“As soon I saw him drive over the tanks, I sprinted out of the office,” he said.
Surveillance video shows him running after the vehicle as the driver exits the parking lot and speeds away.
Trump’s 2020 prediction that gas prices under Biden would reach $7.00 per gallon came true this week. https://t.co/ApE1hn400p
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) March 7, 2022
“We have bills to pay, we got employees that count on us, that need that money,” Thayil told KPRC.
The Houston Police Department told KTRK that officers responded to the gas station, and a theft report was filed. Thayil has since changed the locks to the underground storage containers.
He shared a warning with other gas stations regarding thefts.
“This stuff is happening right now,” Thayil, whose father owns the gas station, told KRIV. “Make sure you’re checking your inventory logs and your surveillance cameras. It can happen when you least expect it.”