String of fuel thefts continue as Florida thieves steal 1,093 gallons of diesel by pumping it into hidden tanks in their truck beds

Insider – by Grace Kay

Two men stole 1,093 gallons or about $6,000 worth of diesel fuel from a Florida gas station earlier this month, the St. Cloud Police Department said.

The police shared two pictures of the suspects on Tuesday after the incident took place on June 1. The police told a local Fox News station that the two men had a pair of Ford F250 trucks that had massive fuel tanks hidden in the truck beds to carry the stolen fuel. They continually visited one pump that they had tampered with throughout the day, according to the outlet.

St. Cloud Police Department did not respond to a request for comment from Insider on how the thieves were able to make off with the fuel.

Ned Bowman, an executive director at Florida Petroleum Marketers, told The New York Post that in some cases thieves are able to trick the fuel pump by changing the pulsator using a pulsator manipulation device to hack into the pump.

“They go in and they change the pulsator,” Bowman said. “The pulsator is the device that is inside the gas pump that regulates the flow of the fuel. So they’re able to change the price of the fuel down to a nickel or a penny to the gallon and fill the back of their trucks up—their bladders or spare tanks—with fuel that’s basically free.”

Over the past year, diesel prices have surged over 76%. Last month, Insider reported that the diesel market is facing its worst crisis since the 1970s. Prices for the fuel are at a record average of $5.79 per gallon, according to data from AAA. 

Bowman told the publication that the prices have led to the development of several fuel-theft rings in the state. In April, six suspects were arrested after they allegedly stole over $60,000 worth of gasoline and resold it at a discount price. The month before, four men were arrested for allegedly hacking fuel pumps and lowering the cost of gas to a few cents. They allegedly stole over 2,800 gallons of gasoline.


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