Entries in Gas (6)


Thieves Targeting Unlocked Cars at Gas Stations

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(PASADENA, Texas) -- High gas prices are not the only things customers have to fear at the pump; theives targeting unlocked cars may also be a cause for concern.

In Pasadena, Texas, at least four gas station thefts have been reported in November alone, Pasadena Police Department spokesman Vance Mitchell said.

“What happens is people pull into a service station, get out of the car and plug in their card or pay inside, and some do not lock their doors,” he said.  “They leave their purses or other valuables in the front seat, and thieves get in their cars and are gone in less than seconds.”

One of the four cases reported involved a woman who went to pump gas and left her car unlocked because her grandchild was in the back.  A thief entered her vehicle and grabbed her purse from the car.

Surveillance video of the Nov. 6 robbery, released by the Pasadena Police Department, shows a gold Cadillac pulling up to the woman’s van and then speeding off with her purse -- all in less than 10 seconds.

Mitchell said during the holiday season it is even more important for drivers to lock their cars at the pump to avoid being robbed.

“Be especially careful of your surroundings, lock your doors and don’t make items in your car visible,” Mitchell said.  “Also, if you put objects in the trunk make sure to do it ahead of time to avoid someone seeing you.  This also leads to robberies.”

If a driver does notice their car being robbed, Mitchell said to not confront the thief because people do not know what weapons, if any, the robber might have.

“I would tell them to go inside the store, try and get a license plate number, and call the police,” he said.  “It is not worth losing your life for a purse or other object.”

Mitchell said this string of robberies has ended for now, with no more reported incidents in Pasadena since November.

He cautions drivers to be diligent while at the pump and reiterated that the best way to avoid robberies is to “lock your doors.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New York City, Long Island Impose Gas Rationing System

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New York City and Long Island drivers will have to check their license plates before attempting to get in line for gas in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy.

Beginning Friday morning, drivers with license plates ending in an even number will only be able to fill up their tanks on even-numbered days; those with license plates ending in an odd number can get gas on odd days.  Vehicles with license plates ending in a letter or other character will be able to buy gas on odd-numbered days.

Commercial vehicles, emergency vehicles, buses and paratransit vehicles, Medical Doctor (MD) plates and vehicles licensed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission are exempt from the gas rationing system.

"Last week’s storm hit the fuel network hard -- and knocked out critical infrastructure needed to distribute gasoline,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Thursday.  “Even as the region’s petroleum infrastructure slowly returns to normal, the gasoline supply remains a real problem for thousands of New York drivers."

With more than 500,000 customers still living without power in the region, many also need the fuel to keep generators running in these frigid temperatures.

"We have to do something," Bloomberg said.  "This is practical and enforceable and a lot better than doing nothing."

"I think that makes sense.  I think that should have started from the beginning.  I think it would have eased up, and you wouldn't of had this these long lines," a Queens, N.Y., driver told ABC News affiliate WABC-TV.

The long lines for gas are eerily reminiscent of the dark days of the 1979 energy crisis under President Jimmy Carter -- the last time a gas rationing system was put in place.

Officials said something needed to be done so everyone -- both drivers and people using gas to fuel generators -- can have their chance at a fair share.

"This is designed to let everybody have a fair chance, so the lines aren't too oppressive and that we can get through this," Bloomberg said.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie implemented a rationing system shortly after the demand for fuel became too great.  Christie has said that the new rules have curbed lines from more than three hours to under an hour.

The rationing system comes two days after a nor'easter blew through the area, knocking out power to those who just got it back from superstorm Sandy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Lines Abound in NY, NJ, as Resources Run Low

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As residents of New York and New Jersey await recovery in the wake of Superstorm Sandy they are finding that, more often than not, they need to wait in line.

The needs may be power, gas, pay phones or public transportation. Regardless, get in line.

In Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., drivers waited in their cars in lines that stretched half a mile long on Route 17 South just to inch closer to a Shell station, hoping for the big pay-off: the honor of forking over money to fill up their tanks or put fuel in their generators before gas ran out.

Some even waited on foot with gas cans in hand. The station owner told ABC News that a $30 limit was imposed, but it wouldn't be enough to help everyone in line.

After waiting for hours, many left empty-handed.

Even though 10 counties of New Jersey have been granted federal aid, New Jersey Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez wrote a letter to the president Thursday requesting that the critical shortages plaguing residents be supplemented further.

"We are dealing with a crisis on the ground with rescue and recovery where millions are without power and without basic necessities," the senators wrote. "Furthermore, our constituents are sitting in lines up to a mile long waiting to fuel their vehicles, tying up local resources that are managing traffic conditions in these areas.

"You have shown extraordinary leadership helping us cope with this terrible storm," they wrote, "and we urge you to use the full force of the federal government, including using military assets, to bring this needed help to our state."

Even if people were able to get gas, it was highly unlikely that they could travel very far without getting stuck in traffic. While many bridges are open in New York and New Jersey, they are clogged with traffic as the reality of shuttered public transportation systems sinks in.

Newly imposed carpool rules forbidding cars with less than three passengers from entering Manhattan are intended to relieve congestion in the city. But they only seemed to add to the long lines. Checkpoints were set up on the highways to enforce ridesharing.

With subway lines out of commission, the swarms of people waiting for buses outside venues like Brooklyn's Barclays Center also had to wait their turns.

ABC affiliate WABC reported that more than 1,000 people waited just to hop aboard, lines stretching for blocks. As the stream of buses slowed down, many were left without rides.

"Where are the buses?" one man was overhead saying.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Alleged Gas Thief Catches Fire, Crashes Truck

Mitch Drum/ABC News(MESA, Ariz.) -- A man has been hospitalized in Mesa, Ariz., after he caught fire and the truck he was driving crashed into a home as he fled from allegedly siphoning gas from someone’s car, police said.

Surveillance footage taken by Mitch Drum apparently shows Herbert C. Ridge, 38, rolling on the ground trying to extinguish flames that had engulfed his shirt. Seconds earlier, the video appears to show Ridge leaping from the driver’s seat of the truck as it crashes into Drum’s neighbor’s home.

“I heard a boom outside my house, so I ran out and saw the truck on fire with the guy running away,” Drum, 26, told ABC News. "I ran off after him but I didn’t want to go physical, because who knows what he might be on.”


Drum said Ridge told him that his Ford F150 had caught fire while he was driving it.

“He had a broken arm, you could see it bulging and a lot of smoke residue. I could see the smoke on him, gashes, arms broken, he was just mangled up,” Drum said.

While Drum called 911, the man ran off toward another neighbor’s house.

“He had this manufactured siphoning system that he made himself, with a pump hooked up to it, to a battery,” he said. “Something must have sparked.”

“We were able to figure out what happened while they were working the call,” Sgt. Tony Landato told ABC News. “Within an hour of the call coming out, we had him identified.”

Police said that the home that was struck was unoccupied when it was hit with the allegedly stolen truck. Ridge is still in the hospital and is expected to survive his injuries.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


$4,500 in Gas Siphoned in Latest California Pump Heist

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(ROSEVILLE, Calif.) -- With the price of gas in California reaching record highs, thieves are increasingly targeting gas tanks with the most recent heist siphoning more than $4,500 from a gas station over a span of three days.

Police in Roseville, Calif., have arrested a man for allegedly stealing more than 1,100 gallons of gas from a Shell station four times in three days starting on Sept. 27.

Roseville police told ABC News that a male suspect is in custody, but they are still looking for a female suspect who they’ve identified.  The truck was located and recovered by police with 110 gallons of gas on board.  The gas has since been turned over to the station’s manager, Tony Sandhu.

Sandhu told ABC News affiliate KABC-TV on Saturday that the thieves rolled up to the station in a pickup truck and managed to bypass the pay-at-the-pump meter on Sept. 27.  The thieves pumped 300 gallons of gas into a tank that was located in the back of the truck around 1:30 a.m., according to police.  The station was closed at the time and it’s not clear how the thieves turned on the pump.

“I don’t know if we can recover that money or not, but at least those people should go to jail,” said Sandhu.

Police believe thieves came back twice the next day while the station was closed and drove off with hundreds of gallons of gas.  Then, they came back the following day during store hours to steal even more.

Sandhu told KABC that security cameras caught the thieves siphoning the gas and when they returned during business hours, a cashier recognized the truck and took down the license plate.

“It actually brought it to the attention of the owner because he was short on his tallies for his amount of gas,” said Lt. Cal Walstad of the Roseville Police Department.

In all, the thieves managed to get away with 1,153 gallons of the liquid gold, according to police.

The price of gas hit an all-time average high in California on Sunday, costing drivers $4.70 a gallon, up 53 cents from last week’s average.

Recent refinery fires in the state and pipeline problems are the culprits behind the high prices that are causing California reserves to hit a 10-year low.

Analysts predict that relief is in sight and prices will bottom out near $3.50 a gallon by Thanksgiving, which is one of the busiest times for traveling.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


DHS: Hackers Mounting Organized Cyber Attack on US Gas Pipelines

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- For the past six months, an unidentified group of hackers has been mounting an ongoing, coordinated cyber attack on the control systems of U.S. gas pipelines, prompting the Department of Homeland Security to issue alerts.

According to U.S. officials, it's unclear if a foreign power is trying to map the gas systems or if hackers are attempting to harm the pipelines. A previous attack on the oil and gas sector seemed to originate in China.

The hackers are using a technique called "spear-phishing," according to the DHS, in hopes of stealing passwords and gaining access to the pipelines' control systems. Spear-phishers send targeted emails to specific individuals that seem to come from friends or associates, and when opened, attachments or links in the emails release malware into the victim's computer.

"Various sources provided information to the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team," stated the DHS in a recent newsletter, "describing targeted attempts and intrusions into multiple natural gas pipeline sector organizations. Analysis of the malware and artifacts associated with these cyber attacks has positively identified this activity as related to a single campaign with spear-phishing activity dating back to as early as December 2011."

According to the DHS, the spear-phishers, who were first detected in March, have targeted a small, select group of employees at U.S. gas companies.

DHS officials and a spokesman have acknowledged they are working with the FBI to find out who may be behind the intrusions and malicious emails.

"The cyber intrusion involves sophisticated spear-phishing activities targeting personnel within the private companies," DHS spokesman Peter Boogaard said in a statement. "DHS is coordinating with the FBI and appropriate federal agencies, and DHS's Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) is working with affected organizations to prepare mitigation plans customized to their current network and security configurations to detect, mitigate and prevent such threats."

Boogaard said ICS-CERT has been working with "critical infrastructure owners" in the oil and gas industry since March 2012 to combat the cyber attacks. According to Homeland Security officials, in recent weeks ICS-CERT has held several classified briefings with oil and gas sector companies and organizations to share information about the intrusions.

The oil and gas sector has been targeted before. In February 2011 the computer security firm McAfee discovered a computer intrusion labeled "Night Dragon" that was traced to China. As part of that attack, individuals tried to obtain sensitive data and financial documents from the oil and gas companies about bids and future drilling exploration projects.

The FBI declined to comment on the case when contacted by ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio