First 'tank heist' reported in Elkhart

You’ve heard of a bank heist, well how about a –tank heist?

The Elkhart City Police Department is investigating this year’s first reported theft case, in which a siphon was used to steal gasoline.

To make matters worse the victim of the crime was a charitable organization known as Church Community Services.

On one hand, Church Community Services is in the business of giving things away. The organization runs a food pantry in downtown Elkhart that serves 14-hundred families a month.

On the other hand, the organization draws the line when people simply help themselves.

That was apparently the case earlier this week, when someone drained the gas tank of Church Community Service’s delivery truck.

“On Monday I filled up 45-gallons of gas. Cost a little over 100-dollars. On Tuesday morning when we went to use the truck it was down to less than a quarter tank,” said Wayne Harter with Church Community Services. “Well the gas didn’t get away by itself.”

Harter immediately purchased a locking gas cap, and began wondering how anyone could commit such a crime morally, and physically, considering where the truck was parked. “It’s a fenced area with barbs on top and you wouldn’t normally climb that kind of fence.”

While this is the first reported theft of its kind in the City of Elkhart this year, police suspect there have been other incidents that have gone unreported.

“I believe there’s probably more siphoning going on that people are just not reporting,” said Lt. Ed Windbigler of the Elkhart Police Department. “When somebody gets in their car every day, does somebody get in their car and look at their gas gage, and notice it is five gallons less than it was the night before? Probably not.”

Windbigler says police encourage victims of siphoning to report the crime. “It needs to be reported before we can formulate a plan to combat it.”

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