Vancouver police have seized two vans used in a plot to steal gasoline and resell it to waiting buyers this week, and are warning the public to avoid anyone offering unusually cheap gas.
According to police, thieves are filling up custom-made gas tanks capable of holding up to 1,000 litres and paying with stolen credit cards.
Const. Brian Montague with the Vancouver Police said the thieves are reselling the gas to customers who know about the scam, likely companies with large fleets of vehicles.
"Gas is an expensive item for them and if they can get it at a lower rate then they are willing to do that," said Montague.
On Monday, police arrested an 18-year-old man at a gas station at 57th Avenue and Knight Street, with a stack of stolen cards and a van with a modified fuel tank.
On Tuesday, they arrested a man at a Petro Canada station at 41st Avenue and Oak Street, after receiving a tip from the public that he purchased $500 worth of gas.
Police also believe a van that burst into flames after crashing into a wall near a residential home on Oct. 7 contained gasoline bought with stolen credit cards.
The two men who were in the van at the time of the accident fled the scene, but both later checked in to Eagle Ridge Hospital with serious burns.
"What we saw in early October, where this van literally burst into flames while it was driving and smashed into a retaining wall and onto a person's front yard—obviously there are some safety concerns there," said Montague.
Police say they aren't sure if the incidents are connected, but are warning the public to avoid anyone offering gas at a price that's too good to be true.