Due to the weather, some customers may experience late delivery of The Roanoke Times. We apologize for the delay.
Both incidents involved vehicles parked near Fulton Motor Lofts. No arrests have been made.
Friday, March 29, 2013
At least two recent incidents of vehicle tampering have damaged and drained the gas tanks of cars parked near Fourth Street and Salem Avenue Southwest, outside the Fulton Motor Lofts on the west end of Roanoke’s downtown.
Ray Belisle said he left his work vehicle, a white 2001 GMC pickup truck, outside the condominium building where he lives one weekend last month with a full tank of gas. When Belisle drove the few blocks from his parking spot in the 200 block of Fourth Street to the Center in the Square construction site on Feb. 11, a Monday, he noticed his tank was nearly empty.
“I’m thinking, no way,” he said. “I just filled up my tank.”
Belisle said he then drove to the Sheetz gas station at Williamson Road and Orange Avenue. He said he had pumped about $20 in gasoline when he heard the fuel flowing out of the truck and onto the pavement.
“Sheetz had to shut down two islands and decontaminate,” he said.
Someone had drilled a hole in the truck’s gas tank, Belisle said. About 30 gallons of gasoline had been emptied from the plastic tank. The truck was loaded onto a flatbed, he said, and taken to be repaired.
He said the foreman of the repair shop noticed marks on the tank consistent with drilling.
Roanoke police spokeswoman Aisha Johnson said a second incident involving a damaged gas tank was reported March 23. That vehicle, Johnson said, broke down. When it was towed to a repair shop, the vehicle owner was told the gas tank was damaged.
Johnson said the owner reported that the car had been parked in the 400 block of Salem Avenue, just around the corner from where Belisle’s truck was parked.
When he got set up with a temporary vehicle, Belisle said he drove back to the condos, quickly spotting stained pavement near where the truck had been parked.
“Whatever gas they didn’t catch spilled onto the asphalt,” he said.
And they extended down into a nearby storm drain.
“What would have happened if someone came by and flipped a cigarette butt?” Belisle said. “That would have been a major explosion.”
Johnson said no arrests have been made in either incident.
Weather JournalMany very icy despite 'bust' claims