SPOKANE, Wash.--Business owners in North Spokane said they were seeing a growing crime trend of gas theft in March. Crooks struck Tuesday night at one small business on Market Street in Hillyard.
The owner of C&W Mattress in Hillyard was surprised and angry when he arrived at work Wednesday to learn the U-Haul truck he had rented had been hit by gas thieves overnight.
“They left me with a latex glove, a bunch of fuel all over the ground,” said owner Westley Miller.
Miller said he knew even before he got out of his car Wednesday morning that he had been the victim of a crime. He said thieves had popped a hole in the gas tank of his mattress delivery truck, stealing more than 20 gallons of gas. Miller said they also siphoned another ten to 15 gallons out of the U-Haul.
Miller was not only out of gas money, but out of the repair and replacement costs as well.
“About a thousand dollars out of our pocket,” said Miller.
Westley asked around and said he was shocked to learn he was just the latest victim.
“When I called A-Z Rental to let them know their truck wasn't going to be back. I couldn't believe when he told me, it's a nightly thing.” said Miller.
Another business told KREM 2 News gas siphoning happens to them at least once a week. It is a crime costing small businesses in a big way.
“I should be handling customer orders, getting more products in, getting stuff scheduled, and getting the truck loaded for the afternoon deliveries. But instead, I'm underneath here wasting time,” said Miller.
Miller said he did call police and they took a report on the theft but did not come out to his business to investigate. He said he was worried about the message that sends to those responsible.