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Vancouver Black Market Gas Poses Threat To Drivers, Say Police

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Is that gas price too good to be true?

Then it probably is.

In a scam being referred to as "black market gasoline," Vancouver thieves are reportedly stealing gasoline from gas stations and selling it at a discounted price.

According to The Province, thieves steal credit cards and upload data to fake pay cards, using them at gas stations. They equip large vehicles with containers so that when they appear to be filling their tanks with gas, they are actually stealing it. Thieves then take the gas-filled containers to a warehouse and sell it. For cheap.

These criminals are selling the gas to people who know about the scheme, including companies with large fleets of cars, Vancouver police Const. Brian Montague told CBC News.

Vancouver police have arrested suspicious men at gas stations on two separate occasions, the broadcaster reports. On Oct. 21, an 18-year-old was arrested at a station at 57th Avenue and Oak Street with stolen credit cards and a makeshift fuel tank in his van. The next day, a 19-year-old was arrested at a station at 41st Avenue and Oak Street, after police received a tip a man bought $500 worth of gas.

Police are drawing connections between these incidents and a third one that occurred on Oct. 7, when a van burst into flames at Oak Street near 53rd Avenue.

Two people were very badly burned, and it wasn’t a result of an accident,” Montague told The Province. “That van was fully engulfed just driving down the street, so obviously fumes can build up, and it doesn’t take much to ignite those vapours.”

Police aren't sure the incidents are connected, according to CBC News, but are warning citizens to be aware that this is going on.

When you consider the tank is not anchored properly, as in the situation on Oak Street, it was the vapours inside the vehicle that actually ignited," Deputy Fire Chief Steve Laleune told CTV News. "You've pretty much got a bomb that’s ready to go off."

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