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Thieves going to great lengths to steal gas

6:37 PM, Jul 9, 2013   |    comments
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HOLLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) - Ottawa County investigators are looking into a number of gasoline thefts and say those responsible are using a new, more dangerous method.
Five cars in the last month have had their gas tanks punctured with a sharp tool.

It costs Khampsay Keophalychans $100 to fill his 26.4 gallon truck with gas. Last month, his tank was full and his truck hadn't moved off the driveway in weeks. When his wife noticed a leak in the tank, she became immediately suspicious.

"She looked and said, 'Oh the gas tank has a hole'," says Keophalychans.

Now, investigators believe that case is connected to four others, near James Street and 142nd Avenue, as well as Butternut and Rose Park Drive.

"The most common denominator is the method of operation a puncturing tool or device used to puncture the gas tank," says Lt. Mark Bennett, with the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department.

"The time they punctured my fuel tank gas was $4 per gallon or something," says Keophalychans.

After his gas tank had been broken into, Keophalychans didn't know how much had been stolen, so he went to check the fuel gage, and it was completely empty.

Investigators say it's unclear how much gasoline the suspect or suspects are getting away with. New technology has made stealing gas from the filter cap more difficult.

"To have gas tanks punctured is uncommon, I've never seen this," says Lt. Bennett. "Our concern obviously is not only the property damage, but even more so is the safety issue for the victims and people puncturing those gas tanks."

Keophalychans has added video cameras around his house, since the incident.

Investigators say there was another case of someone who siphoned gas in May, but they don't believe that case is connected, because a different method was used.

No arrests have been made. If you have any information on these cases, you're asked to call the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department.

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