A White Rock man is calling for increased security measures – such as CCTV cameras and fencing – at the South Surrey Park & Ride after his vehicle’s gas supply was pilfered by thieves this week.
Christian Lane tweeted about the incident Wednesday, including a photo of the damage that shows a drill bit lodged in the tank.
Thursday, he told Peace Arch News the discovery was “not anything I was prepared for.”
Lane said he parked his GMC pickup at the lot – located at 3800 King George Blvd. – at 7 a.m. Nov. 13 to take transit to work in Vancouver. On his return, around 5:30 p.m., he could smell gas, but didn’t think anything of it – until he fired up his truck.
That’s when Lane noticed his fuel gauge was lower than it should have been, considering how recently he’d filled his tank, and it clicked that the gas smell was likely his fuel.
He said he immediately shut off his truck and investigated underneath his vehicle. Using the light of his cellphone, he found a hole and drill bit in his tank.
Lane said firefighters who responded to deal with the fuel spill, as well as the tow truck operator, told him incidents of fuel theft as well as catalytic-converter thefts are common at the lot.
In a February letter, Sereno Masotti told PAN how the catalytic converter had been taken from his van while it was parked at the same lot. When he took it for repair, he was told 20 of the devices had been replaced in the same week.
Thursday, Langley resident Teresa Coverdale said her vehicle was also damaged and the fuel drained while it was parked at the South Surrey Park & Ride on Nov. 1.
TransLink officials, when asked about security measures in place at the lot, acknowledged the company operated the site, but said as the land belongs to the province, “that would be a province question,” and directed questions to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, as well as to Transit Police.
Ministry officials on Friday were not immediately able to comment.
Transit Police spokesperson Anne Drennan referred questions regarding CCTV cameras at the lot to TransLink.
Regarding fuel theft, Drennan said she has asked Transit Police analysts to research the incidents. As for catalytic converters, “we have had very few of these thefts reported to us, in 2019,” she said.
Lane, meanwhile, said his experience will land him with a repair bill of about $1,000. While it won’t dissuade him from parking at the lot, he said he’ll likely “be a little more vigilant about where I’m parking in that lot.”
He maintains that something needs to be done to discourage the criminal activity, to give those considering it pause.
Theft aside, the risks of drilling into a fuel tank are noteworthy, he said.
“From a liability standpoint, it makes no sense to me at all that TransLink wouldn’t be looking at some sort of mitigation,” he said.