$1 million worth of diesel stolen in Seattle

05:52 PM PST on Monday, January 12, 2009

By ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News

SEATTLE – Police say a fake meter was used to steal about $1.2 million in diesel fuel at the BP distribution center in Seattle on Harbor Island.

Officials with British Petroleum confirm for KING 5 that the fuel has been stolen from their Harbor Island depot over the past 10 months.

The ripoff reportedly starting with a truck driver who monkeyed with the meter monitoring how much fuel was being pumped.

A report filed with Seattle Police states it happened like this: “A truck driver picking up a load had eventually unscrewed a protective cap on the pump system, accessing the legitimate (meter), then replaced it with a phony one, replacing the screw cap.”

“I can say that I don’t think that our office have seen anything like this,” said Renee Witt of the Seattle Police Dept.

And it looks like the ripoff doesn’t end here. Authorities believe this heist may be related to another similar one in Southern California.

BP officials say a depot in Long Beach had about a $1.5 million worth of diesel stolen over the same time period.

But as amazing as those figures sound, BP says it constitutes just a drop in the bucket to how much of their fuel that is shipped across America every day.

The 350,000 gallons stolen Seattle is considered within the annual range of “acceptable losses” for BP

“That 350,000 gallon number would only constitute about .015 percent of the through-put of the station on a daily basis,” said BP spokesman Bill Kidd.

Truckers say they’ve heard of heists like this in the past, although not to this extent. They say the tanks of fuel are typically sold at a cut rate to mom and pop gas stations along the West Coast.

~ by fredfelleman on January 26, 2009.

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