PALM DESERT, Calif. - A business that specializes in helping protect your property through surveillance software is now using that same technology to track down a woman who has been siphoning gas from work vans in the company's parking lot.
"She's very resourceful. She's quick about it and she knows what she's doing. You can tell we're not the first place that she's hit," AudioVision's general manager Jim Coleman said.
In the surveillance video, the woman seems fearless despite committing a petty crime. She was caught on video stealing gas out of the company's vans at least four times in the last two weeks.
"We'd come out and see almost like an oil-looking stain on the ground and course get in and start the car like a normal day and the gas tank is completely empty where before the weekend it wouldn't be or they'd be full," Grayson Fortna said.
Coleman said they've tried everything to keep their vans protected in the lot. He said the company bought locking gas caps and has technicians park the vans as close as possible together but says the thief still manages to get to the fuel.
"Unfortunately, when we put on the locking gas caps she goes to the next measure which is cutting the gas line down underneath and cutting the hose," Coleman said.
One technician said it usually happens after a weekend. On Monday mornings, they head off to start the day and see someone got there first.
"The gas tanks would be open, they would leave the lids open, they'd leave the actual gas caps hanging its just kind of strange and we could tell that someone was siphoning gas," Fortna said.
"She'll come get gas and then fill up her car then she'll drive away come back a couple hours later and try to get more," Coleman said.
It's a costly problem for the business. Coleman said she's caused more than $2,000 in repairs from all the fuel lines she's cut.
"They're getting $10-$20 worth of gas at a time. It just seems like a lot of hassle for not much reward," Fortna said.
Coleman said he turned in the surveillance footage to police in hopes of catching the thief.
AudioVisions is located off of Gerald Ford Drive in Palm Desert. The company handles engineering for audio, video, lighting, programming and network/computer systems, according to its website.
The company filed reports with the sheriff's department and is working with authorities to track down the gas thief. If you recognize the woman from the surveillance video, please call the Palm Desert Sheriff's Station at 760-836-1600 or Valley Crime Stoppers (760) 341-STOP.