Serial gas thief may be back in El Cajon neighborhood, may be getting more sophisticated

Gas theft incidents also occurred in Sept. 2011

EL CAJON, Calif. - A serial gas thief may be back in El Cajon and the thief may be getting more sophisticated.

In the parking lot of the Bree Manor Apartments, next to a pickup truck is a big stain. Because it was on the ground Friday morning, Brittany Swift's father was not driving out of the parking lot.

"He went to start his truck and it was on empty after he had just filled up with gas," said Swift.

Someone had siphoned $120 worth of gas from the tank. For residents at the apartment complex, it is a familiar scene.

In September of 2011, 10News reported about five vehicles hit in the area in a three-week span after a string of other incidents in El Cajon.

At the apartment complex, in one case, the fuel was siphoned out with a tube. In another, the fuel line was sliced.           

Police tell 10News that thief was never caught. A year and a half later, neighbors wonder: is the thief back?

If it was the same thief, that thief may be getting more sophisticated. The truck had a locking gas cap. It is unclear how the lock was picked but there are dents near the keyhole, perhaps from a shaved key.

Videos can be found online explaining how to pick a locking gas cap, but El Cajon police say the technique is a new one.

That is small consolation for Swift. Her father bought the gas cap because his truck was also siphoned in the 2011 thefts.

A manager says security has been stepped up. A neighborhood watch patrol group says they will make more trips to the neighborhood in search of a fuel thief.

El Cajon police say they have not noticed an uptick in gas thefts in the last few months.

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