COMPTON – While on routine patrol on Tuesday, Compton deputies spotted a blue van. Normally, such a sight would not provoke suspicion. However, said van happened to be parked over an underground fuel storage tank at a gas station located at 4351 E. Rosecrans Avenue.
In addition, they soon saw a hand sticking out from the floorboard of the van, pulling out a hose from the tank and then replacing the metal lid that covered it. After the van drove off, police had reasonable suspicion that a fuel theft had just occurred and they stopped the vehicle.
Sure enough, they discovered five 55-gallon tanks inside the van, all full of diesel fuel. The thieves, three males, had stolen 275 gallons in all. The value of their attempted haul exceeded $1,000. They were charged with grand theft of diesel fuel. Bail was set at $20,000, an unwise exchange in anyone’s book.
Authorities remind the public that such a risky endeavor is fraught with danger. A lit cigarette or car accident could have set off a large explosion.