By Yun Suh-young
Thefts of fuel from cars, houses and farms have risen sharply recently as gasoline prices soar to new highs.
Since the price has exceeded 2,100 won per liter, the number of people stealing diesel or gasoline has also increased dramatically, police said Sunday.
They are targeting heavy equipment such as excavators or dumper trucks that run on diesel as well as tankers transporting gasoline.
According to Gyeongbuk Provincial Police Agency, seven professional oil thieves were arrested recently for stealing 84,300 liters of petrol worth some 140 million won. Some known gang members were also included in the crime ring.
The thieves stole the gas by drilling a hole into a pipe on tanker parked near a highway and using a hydraulic hose to remove the fuel. They then transferred it to a van illegally transformed to move and transport it to gas stations.
Chungnam Provincial Police Agency also arrested 14 tanker drivers and gas station employees on March 8 for stealing gas and receiving government subsidies by faking sales. Using specially designed equipment, the drivers stole 200 to 600 liters of petrol worth 350 million won per occasion over the past two years. They took advantage of the fact that gas stations did not check the amount being sold.
Some tankers were the targets of thieves, who drilled holes and transferred the gas into their own cars.
“I leave my gas tank cover open these days because if it’s closed, I know the thieves will drill a hole into the tank to steal the contents. When they drill holes, it costs too much to get them repaired, so I gave up trying to prevent the theft. Now I leave the tank open to beg mercy to these thieves to just take the gas and leave everything else safe and sound,” said a tanker driver surnamed Cho.
Police say heavy equipment parked at construction sites or left in isolated spots is especially prone.
“I knew I shouldn’t park the excavator in a remote place, but I did anyway because there was nowhere else to park. That’s when 280 liters of diesel were stolen. This is the third time this winter,” said a driver surnamed Baek.
According to the National Association of Construction & Machineries, over 40 cases of gas theft were reported this winter. The heavy equipment that was targeted was parked in remote places, they said.
휘발유 가격이 고공 행진이 계속되면서 자동차, 주택, 농장으로부터 휘발유를 훔치는 경우가 급격히 늘고 있다.
경찰은 18일 휘발유 가격이 리터당 2,100원을 넘어서면서 휘발유 절도범이 크게 늘고 있다고 밝혔다.
절도범들은 휘발유 운반 차량, 굴식기, 덤프트럭 등 대형 차량을 범행 대상으로 삼고 있다.
경기경찰청에 따르면 시가 1억4천만원에 달하는 8만4천3백리터의 휘발유를 훔친 혐의로 전문적인 휘발유 절도범 7명이 최근에 검거됐다.