Petrol si­phon­ing dis­tresses driver

Central Leader - - NEWS - By KA­RINA ABADIA

Find­ing out petrol had been stolen from her car’s fuel tank came was quite a shock to Glo­ria Jenk­ins.

It wasn’t un­til she was driv­ing on the North­ern Mo­tor­way that she re­alised some­thing was wrong.

When left home she could smell petrol but she as­sumed it was be­cause her neigh­bours had been rid­ing mo­tor­bikes along her street.

But just as she was about to go through Vic­to­ria Park Tun­nel she no­ticed the smell had lin­gered.

Then she saw her petrol gauge was ex­tremely low but her tank had been three-quar­ters full the day be­fore.

Mrs Jenk­ins was re­lieved to make it over the Har­bour Bridge and up to a garage on Onewa Rd.

‘‘I think an­gels were help­ing me. I was very for­tu­nate that I didn’t break down in the tun­nel or on the bridge.’’

Her car was com­pletely empty and needed to be towed back to her house. She had it re­paired the fol­low­ing day.

It wasn’t un­til she heard of three other sim­i­lar in­ci­dents oc­cur­ring on the same night on her cen­tral Auck­land street that she started to sus­pect she had been the vic­tim of a crime.

‘‘I had never heard of this hap­pen­ing so at first I thought there must have been a hole in the tank. It’s just not what you would ex­pect.’’

She says the ex­pe­ri­ence was a huge has­sle and she now wishes she had checked her petrol gauge be­fore start­ing her jour­ney.

Con­sta­ble Donna Govorko says po­lice are look­ing into a spate of petrol si­phon­ing in­ci­dents around Auck­land city ear­lier in the month.

It is not al­ways ob­vi­ous to the car owner what has hap­pened, she says.

In­ci­dents have been re­ported in Grey Lynn and St Mary’s Bay, as well as Mt Eden, Par­nell and Orakei.

‘Those are the ones we know about. It’s one of those things peo­ple of­ten won’t re­port to po­lice,’’ Miss Govorko says.

The first thing vic­tims tend to no­tice is an un­usu­ally low petrol gauge, she says.

Other pos­si­ble signs in­clude a strong petrol smell around the ve­hi­cle and pool­ing of petrol un­der the fuel tank.

This can be a safety con­cern, she says.

‘‘If there is a sig­nif­i­cant amount of petrol un­der the car, don’t drive it un­til it’s been checked out by a me­chanic.’’

The com­mu­nity can help by re­port­ing sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity.

‘‘Be aware of peo­ple look­ing around a ve­hi­cle. They will have to get ac­cess to ei­ther the petrol filler cap or the fuel line which they would need to be un­der the ve­hi­cle to ac­cess.’’

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