By CRM staff
Toronto, Ontario -- December 21, 2018 -- Franco Annicchiarico, owner of Franco’s Auto Service, is worried for the safety of his shop and nearby residents.
His Kamloops auto repair shop has been the recent target of numerous gas thefts, ones in which the fuel has been extracted in a very dangerous way.
According to Annicchiarico, the thieves are taking the gas by drilling holes in the vehicle’s gas tank. He worries that the sparks from the drilling might react with the gas fumes and set off an explosion.
"It's incredible what fuel tanks can do. It's a bomb," he told CBC. "[Whoever is doing this] can get killed, and it can kill somebody else nearby."
Annicchiarico first became aware of the problem when repairing a vehicle that had previously been sitting outside the shop. He saw that the vehicle had traces of split gas underneath it.
"A week later we got hit again — two more cars," he told CBC Daybreak Kamloops' Jenifer Norwell.
"Then a week later, we got hit again — this time, three vehicles."
To date a total of seven cars have been drilled and emptied.
According to Annicchiarico, stealing gas by drilling tanks causes a significant amount of damage to the vehicle, as the tanks must then be removed, cleaned and repaired.
In two of the cases, the frame of the car was drilled through to gain access to the tank.
Expenses associated with the thefts are mostly being covered by the shop, as the vehicles were parked outside the bodyshop’s doors at the time the damage occurred.
"I'm not concerned about the expenses — it's things that happen. It's the business," he said.
"What I'm concerned about it is that [the person] can kill himself or can kill somebody else or can damage other vehicles."
Annicchiarico has reported the thefts and vandalism to the RCMP.