Alachua County EMWIN Project

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Gainesville Gas Thefts -
Video From Penske-North

Over the past few months, a couple of local area gas thieves took local businesses for a lot of gas. They would come at night and siphon gas from trucks at Penske, U-Haul, and we suspect from other businesses, too.

After getting hit 5 times before, Penske finally added a security video camera and floodlights and they nabbed the criminals on tape when they made their sixth hit.

They were VERY bold, and took their greedy sweet time - taking over 35 long minutes to go back for seconds and even THIRDS! They had an obsessed focus on obtaining the gas. These guys were very brave to keep coming back THAT often, and to take so LONG on-scene whenever they'd perpetrate the crimes.

But the video ALSO shows that they were pretty intelligent, too. They were very well practiced at what they were doing. They had one guy running around siphoning the gas while another was the lookout and driver of the getaway vehicle - which was a pickup truck. This can all be seen in the video. The siphoner would give the lookout the collected tanks of gas, and the lookout would then walk them across the street and hide them in the woods while the siphoner continued to go back for more. It was a very bold operation, and these guys had no fear of getting caught or of any consequences. ...Just a dark focus on getting the job done no matter what. While they collected the gas, though, they'd leave behind large, smelly puddles of gas, creating a hazardous materials mess all over the pavement.

The Gainesville Sun reported that the police nabbed them stealing gas from the Main Street U-Haul on July 16th, the 21st, and on the 25th (Sunday) where they were finally caught. What was actually found out about them matched exactly what Penske's videos already showed.

They hit Penske-North on May 29th (3 trucks, 70 gals, $200), June 29th and 30th (5 trucks, 85 gals, $255), and on July 12th and 13th (5 trucks, 85 gals, $238). All told, Penske got hit for 14 trucks, 272 gallons of gas, at a grand total of $777.

...And GPD is NOT interested in persuing these people for what they did to Penske. GPD in fact did not even collect the video even though it showed perfectly HOW they actually do it. Penske-North has tried contacting the police about it by both phone and email, but the police have outright ignored their contact attempts. For all we know, these people could have been armed, or dangerous. People drop off rented trucks at all hours, and had someone dropped off a truck at the wrong time and SURPRISED these guys while they were in the middle of their was felt that there was a chance people could be hurt or killed. The police did not believe it necessary to even so much as make occasional patrols. In the end, what finally caught these criminals wasn't the diligent work of the police...but a citizen who SMELLED something as he drove by U-Haul, and who was smart enough to report it on his cellphone.

The Penske video can be viewed here:

UPDATE: - 08/04/2010

GPD finally called Penske back and advised them that the fingerprint evidence was inconclusive (of course it was), and that they had "asked" the criminals if they had done it, and they of course said (wait for it)...