Fuel 'vampires' target pickup trucks in Grapevine

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on September 24, 2012 at 7:58 PM

GRAPEVINE — Heads up, Ford F-150 owners. Vandals are targeting the popular pickup trucks around the Grapevine area — drilling holes in the gas tanks and draining them dry.

On Saturday night, five Ford pickup trucks were hit.

The vehicles have a 26-gallon fuel tank, and once those tanks are damaged, they are considered a complete loss.

John Hyatt wasn't planning to be at the Grapevine Ford service department on Monday. He was supposed to be 100 miles away, working in Ardmore, Oklahoma.

But on Sunday, when he went out to his Ford F-150, the dashboard said his previously-full gas tank was now empty. He guessed the contents of the tank had been siphoned.

"So I went and got a gas tank and put some gas in it... it started pouring out," he said.

It turned out there was hole in his fuel tank. Someone bored in with a drill and drained it.

"Now I'm stuck here in this shop," Hyatt said.

His truck had been parked outside the Super 8 motel in Grapevine. It was was one of five gas tanks drilled out by a vandal in the Grapevine and Keller areas.

The vandals hit two pickups at Grapevine Mills Mall and one at Bass Pro Shop a short distance away.

All of them were Ford F-150s. "Yeah, that's the only commonality that we've been able to find in all these cases," said Grapevine police Sgt. Robert Eberling.

At first, police wondered if someone was looking for revenge against a specific F-150 owner. But that didn't add up when all the colors of the victimized trucks turned out to be different.

For now, investigators simply don't know what the vandal's motivation was, but some truck owners are taking a hit.

"It could be substantial depending on much it is to replace those fuel tanks," Eberling said.

John Hyatt said he was told the work was going to cost him about $1,200 as he moved his belongings into a rental vehicle.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

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