Bellingham police investigating rental truck gas theft

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Bellingham police are trying to figure out who cut the fuel lines on eight rental trucks at a local storage facility, siphoning and stealing about 200 gallons of gasoline over a three week period.

Someone first noticed a leak beneath one of the vehicles at Discovery Park Heated Storage at 1470 King St., and then figured out what was happening, said Lt. Bob Vander Yacht with the Bellingham Police Department.

"It seemed like there was less gas in the tanks than there should be," Vander Yacht said. "He figured out they were cutting a fuel line and then re-patching it - putting some tape on it."

"It's not the crime of the century, but it's kind of creative," Vander Yacht added.

Eight large rental U-Haul vehicles - trucks or vans - have had their fuel lines cut, said Patrick Reilly, president and CEO Of Urban Self Storage, which operates the Bellingham facility. The company is now working with police to catch whoever stole the gasoline.

"We took some measures to try to prevent it and also to identify who was perpetrating this," Reilly said. "We found no correlation with anybody at the storage facility."

Each vehicle undergoes a thorough inspection before being handed over to a customer, Reilly added.

Vander Yacht said the thieves likely worked in the middle of the night and used a car to haul away the stolen fuel. He called the crime unusual and said the city hadn't seen any similar gas thefts as of late.

"We just want to thank the Bellingham Police Department for responding and being proactive and I want to thank the community - the neighborhood - for all the information received to date," added Reilly. "It's very useful and we're hoping to apprehend these thugs."