Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Police are looking at several people behind the bold theft of a gas tanker. They drove it right off a secure lot on the Eastern Shore and abandoned it in Southwest Philadelphia.
Mike Hellgren has the latest on who is behind the heist and how common thefts like this are.
Philadelphia police examined the Alger Oil Company tanker for fingerprints and other evidence. The 3,000 gallons of fuel inside was untouched.
The thief left the tanker in Southwest Philadelphia about 75 miles from the locked parking lot in Worton on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where it disappeared Monday night.
Officer Chris Fiechi of the Philadelphia Police Department credits his smart phone for helping him make the connection.
“I happened to look at my app on my phone, there was a picture and a tag,” he explained. “I look up and there it is sitting right there.”
With the 9/11 anniversary fresh, the theft caught the attention of the FBI, which is still working the investigation.
Police say there are no formal people of interest, but there are people they want to question.
“At this point there is no link to terrorism,” said Philadelphia Chief Inspector Joe Sullivan. “This, just like our (Philadelphia) department putting the alert out on the U-Haul trucks, the authorities in Maryland did the responsible thing and made sure everybody within a reasonable radius of their jurisdiction was aware this theft occurred.”
The alert went out up and down the East Coast– from Washington, Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia– and police believe the truck simply got too hot for the thief to handle.
But tankers are hot commodities for thieves. Three years ago, four tankers were stolen in a matter of days in and around Baltimore.
One in Curtis Bay was taken at gunpoint.
Who’s behind the latest big heist remains a mystery, and some of the biggest leads could come from what the thief left behind: the stolen tanker.
The tanker and the gas are worth a combined $100,000. There’s a big black market for that fuel. Police have now given Alger Oil their tanker back.
Alger Oil declined comment on the theft. We’re told the truck was in driveable condition when police found it.