OLYMPIA, Wash. - Police are on the trail of thieves seen stealing hundreds of gallons of gas out of tanks at an Olympia gas station.
Thieves sprayed something on the surveillance camera at Gull Harbor Mercantile, then while the camera was blinded, parked a car right over the underground gas storage tanks, broke the lock on the tank and started stealing gas.
“There’s a hose that goes to a pump and the pump obviously feeds into a barrel,” said store owner Dick Kistler.
But the liquid sprayed on the camera started to run off, and the suspects’ gold van could be seen parked over the tank.
They sprayed the camera again, drove off and then came back and tossed a T-shirt over the lens while they finished stealing about 500 gallons of fuel.
“It’s several thousands of dollars we are never going to recoup,” said Kistler.
But there was a big break in the case Tuesday when there was SWAT team raid at a house near Olympia and officers discovered four, 55-gallon drums filled with fuel.
Thurston County authorities believe Andrew Ice, who lives at the property, is involved in the gas thefts.
“We think Andrew Ice has people working for him going out and stealing the gas from the gas stations and then bringing it back to his place,” said Lt. Greg Elwin with the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.
Detectives believe they have identified two more suspects connected to the gas thefts and are hunting for them and the van used in the thefts.
“Hopefully, they have them and I can sleep at night now,” said Kistler.
Detectives said the same thieves that struck Gull Harbor Mercantile also targeted a gas station near Lacey where nearly 500 gallons of fuel were stolen.