Police detain five from Illinois in suspected gas scam

By: NewsCenter 16 Staff Email
By: NewsCenter 16 Staff Email

Five men were taken into custody overnight after they were accused of trying to steal hundreds gallons of fuel from a South Bend gas station.

Police say one of their officers noticed a white van filling up at the Phillips 66 at the intersection of Western Avenue and Falcon Street, and grew suspicious when it hadn't left the pump for over an hour.

The van also matched the description of a vehicle linked to a similar incident a couple of weeks ago.

When police went to investigate they discovered multiple 55 gallon drums full of fuel in the back of the van.

The occupants of both the white van and a second black vehicle that arrived there with it, were taken in for questioning as police try to figure out if this is an isolated incident or part of something bigger.

“There'll be at least one arrest on the theft of the gasoline,” said Lt. Steve Noonan of the South Bend Police Department. “As far as the others, I don't know. We'll see what the investigation leads to. We're also going to contact other agencies to see if they've had similar thefts to see if there's possibly a ring or something like that.”

All five people detained are from the Chicago land area.

Police also found a large quantity of cigarettes in the other vehicle, but aren't sure what connection it has, if any, to the gas theft.

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