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Gas thefts in Antelope Valley alarm business owners - exclusive

June 27, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A gasoline theft ring is at work in the Antelope Valley, and the thieves have specifically targeted vehicles at auto and truck rental agencies.

Penske Truck Rental manager Camille Stark says her business cannot sustain many more thefts. She says someone has ripped off hundreds of gallons of gas from her rental trucks in Palmdale within the last three or four months. The thefts usually occur at night.

"The first incident they hit three of my trucks. The second time I got hit, they cut the hose on one of the trucks, and probably that time [they got] 60 gallons of fuel. And the last time, which was like two weeks ago, two of my trucks -- they emptied them out. Most likely I got hit for 120 gallons of fuel," said Stark.

L.A. County Sheriff's Department Lt. Cory Kennedy says while there have been a few gasoline thefts targeting cars in residential neighborhoods, most of the thefts have happened at multiple fleet and car rental agencies throughout Palmdale and even Lancaster.

"Whoever these folks are targeting, mostly fleet vehicles left parked outside at night, they're puncturing the tank or cutting the fuel lines underneath and draining the fuel," said Kennedy.

Detectives say Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Avis have also been targeted multiple times. Business owners just want the thefts to stop.

"This has happened several times to us and also other sister locations that are in the Antelope Valley. We just really wish we could put a stop to this," said Victor Albizures with Avis. "These people are targeting bigger vehicles, SUVs, vans, big passenger vans, those are the vehicles that get targeted the most."

Anyone with information about the thefts should call the L.A. County Sheriff's Department in Palmdale at (661) 272-2400.

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