DOCUMENT: Florida, Crime

Sucks For Him: Gas Thief Caught In Siphoning Act

Cops: Florida man used retrofitted Dodge in scheme

Gas Pump

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Minivan Gas Thief

SEPTEMBER 8--Driving a minivan outfitted with a generator-powered vacuum system, a Florida man yesterday surreptitiously siphoned 250 gallons of gasoline from a Citgo outlet before the station’s owner became suspicious and called cops.

When Broward County sheriff’s deputies arrived at the Oakland Park gas station, they arrested Yoenis Cristo Banos, 28, on a felony grand theft charge.

A search of Banos’s Dodge Grand Caravan revealed that the vehicle’s rear seats were removed and replaced with three huge plastic tanks and a generator used to power the illegal siphoning system. One of the plastic drums held 255 gallons of diesel fuel, valued at $1019.75, according to a sheriff's report.

As seen above, one police evidence photo shows two of the hidden tanks, while another image shows the third tank at the rear of the van. The entire van can be seen in a third image.

Banos, pictured in the mug shot at left, allegedly parked the van above a compartment leading to the underground vaults storing the Citgo station’s fuel supplies. He then somehow dropped hoses into the reservoir and began sucking up the gasoline into the van’s plastic tanks.

When Broward County Sheriff’s Office deputies discovered the large amount of gasoline inside the van, a hazardous materials team was called to the station to remove the diesel fuel.

After being booked on the grand theft charge, Banos was freed from custody after posting $1000 bond. It is unclear what the unemployed Hialeah resident planned to do with the stolen gas.(1 pages)