ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – As gas prices continue to soar, a gallon of fuel is approaching $5 a gallon in New Mexico. Now desperate thieves are looking to steal it straight from the victim’s gas tanks, leaving some drivers with no fuel, no transportation, and thousands of dollars.
Local mechanics say it’s a growing problem. David Shulz, owner of Klinks Auto Repair, says he has repaired about six cars with damaged fuel tanks. “We had a couple of them where they went in damaged the bottom of the tank stealing the gas; they don’t really siphon it off, they actually damage the reservoirs. Schulz said.
On Thursday afternoon, Albuquerque resident Mike Magallon said he was a victim of the crime after quitting his job. “I went over there the parking lot had a lot of gas and we had to push the truck out of the gas so I could look under it and there was a hole the size of a nickel and the tank was empty,” Magallon said. . Wanting to stay one step ahead of criminals, Magallon says he recently installed a gas cap with a lock.
While this may have slowed down the thieves, it did not stop them. They just drilled straight into his gas tank. “They saw an opportunity, they saw an easy target, an easy mark and I really don’t know. Who knows why they do it, probably a million reasons for them, I don’t even want to think about it. It’s probably going to cost me a whole salary, Magallon said.
As mechanics see an increase in crime, it is said that if thieves want gas, nothing will stop them from taking it. “The gas cap lock is always good, I wouldn’t say don’t use it, but if they want gas they’ll poke a hole through the tank,” Shulz said. Mechanics say these repairs can cost around $1600 to fix everything depending on the damage and the type of vehicle.
Magallon says the damage will most likely cost him all of his paycheck that he cannot afford to pay. The Albuquerque Police Department says that while they have heard of this emerging issue, it is not an issue they are tracking.