On Thursday, October 18 2007, deputy sheriffs in South Florida made another arrest. It would seem that their arrest of Gibson proved he was not that unique.
"It was elaborate in the sense that it was a very purpose-built and stealthy vehicle and trailer," stated Jim Soloman, sheriff's spokesman.
Deputy sheriffs caught two men this time in Orange County FL, trying to siphon more than 500 gallons of diesel fuel from the tanks at a Mobil gas station at Goldenrod and Curry Ford roads. The theft was discovered by a leak detector at the On The Run Mobil gas station at 12:03 pm and officers arrived there by 12:06 pm.
Deputy Pamela Porter was the first to arrive and noticed a truck with trailer parked there with it's hood up and a man working on it. She asked him what the problem was and he kept stating "car broke, car broke." The man, later identified as Octavio Garcia, 27, claimed that he spoke no English and had a Georgia drivers license for identification. The front of the truck was littered with items consistant with someone who works on their own vehicle such as car part boxes, power-steering bottles and tools but it started as soon as the officer turned the key.
Porter's backup, Deputy Timothy Graeber, heard noises coming from the trailer and when checking, he spotted a wall of black brushes that blocked the view under the trailer. They discovered Jose Luis Guerra, 25, of Miami in the back transferring fuel. This trailer as well had a hole cut in the floor which allowed Guerra to use a battery-powered siphon to pump fuel into the two tanks the trailer held. Officers discovered a third tank in the truck's bed with a hose that allowed fuel to be loaded there from inside the trailer
The tanks inside the trailer were converted chlorine tanks of 300 and 250 gallons each and the metal tank in the bed was 150 gallons. The men had managed to pump out 182.5 gallons of fuel of an estimated value of $550 and police estimate that they had the capacity to steal approximately $2,100 worth of diesel. To add to the efficiency of their operation, one played the part of the stranded motorist while the other worked inside and they kept in contact through walkie-talkies.
Large scale thefts of diesel and gas have been a problem for years and with the rising costs of late, some companies are willing to purchase the fuel, tax free, that has been stolen. Members of a theft ring in Florida were arrested in June 2005 for using trucks to siphon 1,000 gallons of fuel and a Cottondale AL man was severely burned in June 2005 when the fuel he was siphoning, exploded in flames.
Neither man would talk to police and both have been charged with third-degree grand theft and taken to the Orange County Jail.
It would almost seem that there must have been a seminar offered in this new and dangerous way to profit in the fuel business.
For my related post, go here.