Florida cops are searching for two men who stole more than 1,000 gallons of gas this month — part of a growing wave of fuel heists across the country as prices soar.
The petrol plunderers pulled up in two trucks equipped with large tanks at a St. Cloud gas station on June 1 and managed to make off with 1,093 gallons before speeding away, police said Tuesday.
Cops said the two men drove white trucks and surveillance footage captured an image of one of their vehicles with a large tank placed in its bed.
As gas costs continue to soar, black market dealers are brazenly stealing fuel and reselling it at a discount on the street, officials have warned in recent months.
Ned Bowman, executive director at Florida Petroleum Marketers, said law enforcement officials believe that the thirst for gas is creating theft rings in the Sunshine State and beyond.
“They’re just stealing right out of the tanks,” he said. “That’s what we’re dealing with. We break up one ring and another one comes up.”
Bowman said cops are attempting to ramp up surveillance capabilities in a bid to identify and bust repeat offenders.
While some gas thieves simply fill up oversize tanks and take off, others are using more sophisticated methods.
In March, four Florida men were nabbed for placing devices inside gas pumps that dropped prices to pennies on the dollar.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said they installed sophisticated “pulsators” inside pumps that regulate price and fuel flow.
The average cost of a gallon of regular gas is nearing $5 in Florida.