LAKE WORTH, Fla. -- - The search is on for hi-tech thieves who are stealing hundreds of gallons of fuel at a time without gas station employees ever knowing.
Investigators said a group of men are targeting fueling centers all over South Florida using specially modified vehicles with false floorboards.
They pull over gas caps and begin siphoning thousands of dollars worth of diesel fuel at a time.
“Yeah, a lot of money,” said Joe Nasr, a Mobil gas station clerk in Lake Worth.
Investigators said the thieves have hit gas stations from Miami-Dade County all the way up to Palm Beach County. Some locations have been targeted multiple times.
“I think this is big problem,” said Nasr. “They steal your money and you don’t know.”
Investigators said the thieves use normal looking vehicles like trucks and SUVs and sit parked unnoticed while they steal the fuel.
“You have smaller SUVs or Vans full of you know 400 or 500 gallons of diesel fuel running down the road and gets in an accident, that can be potential dangerous,” said Robert Buchholz, a former New York State Trooper now private investigator in Boca Raton.
Buchholz said the thieves probably are not transporting the stolen fuel very safely.
Nasr just hopes the thieves get caught before they end up hitting up his gas station or worse.
“Maybe you have big problem at your gas station. Maybe fire,” said Nasr.
Investigators said a big reason why South Florida is being target is because of the close proximity to major highways and to the ports.