MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Auto shops in Memphis are warning us about thieves stealing gas after people fill up. Several shops in the city said they have repaired quite a few cars with holes in their gas tanks.
But the thieves are not stealing gas the most common way, which is siphoning the gas with a hose.
Instead, they are getting a gas pan, going up under the car, and using a drill or a sharp tool to poke a small hole in the tank. It only takes less than a minute for them to empty your tank.
Henry with Wells Auto Center said going under the vehicle is much easier and quicker than siphoning the gas.
Other mechanics in the area told ABC24 they've noticed some customers are left covering all the costs. If a customer doesn't have full coverage from a large insurance company and they've fallen victim to gas theft, they have to pay full price to replace the gas tank, which can cost more than $500.
"If your gas tank is plastic, you'll have to replace the whole gas tank. Because it is hard to repair when they are plastic," Henry said. "They can easily poke a hole in metal tanks too. Older cars have metal tanks."
What makes matters even worse, Henry said there is a shortage of gas tanks right now for newer cars. So, to protect your car, park in the garage, and if you don't have one, park in a lit area or in front of a security camera.
"There's no alarm or nothing to stop it, so it probably won't trigger your (car) alarm,” Henry said.
If you have fallen victim to gas theft, you would see a trail of gas, notice a strong gas smell, and your car probably wouldn't turn on.
MPD only has reports of gas theft, and it is most likely because people may think officers won't be able to do anything about it. But they said people should still file a report.