ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — An Englewood woman had an alarming start to her Saturday after she discovered a hole had been drilled into her gas tank.
"I kept smelling gas coming out of my vents," said the young woman, identified only as Maggie.
Over the weekend, as she was driving down University Boulevard, the smell persisted inside her car and her fuel gauge abruptly dropped to empty.
"I didn't think we were going to stop. I didn't even know if we were going to make it to the gas station," Maggie said.
She pulled off the road and discovered something sinister under her car.
"I saw a giant puddle of gasoline just pouring from the bottom of my car," Maggie said. "Whoever did this, they are definitely rookies. It took about three or four swipes before they could actually puncture and penetrate my gas tank."
The young woman suspects the crime happened early Saturday morning between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. while her car was parked underneath the car port at her apartment complex. She reported the incident to the Englewood Police Department, and early Monday morning, her car was towed to an auto repair shop.
A spokesperson for the Englewood Police Department said the city had experienced an increase in gas thefts this year. Additionally, the recent crimes involved drilled gas tanks as opposed to siphoned ones, which make repairs more expensive.
"For about $20 worth of gas, they caused me about $1,000 in damage," Maggie said.
In addition to the financial burden for her car's repairs, the young woman also purchased camera surveillance system.
"My advice to others is protect yourselves," Maggie said. "Purchase that security camera that you may have been considering. Purchase those motion sensors, floodlights, anything to deter criminals away."
In June, Denver7 reported on an Aurora woman who, while pumping fuel, discovered a hole had been drilled into her tank. At the time, the Aurora Police Department said they had at least 18 reports of similar incidents.
In early July, 200 gallons of diesel fuel were reported stolen from a parked semi-truck in Lakewood.
Englewood police said during years with significant gas price surges, fuel thefts increase markedly.
While gas prices continue to fall in Colorado, according to AAA, the state average for a gallon of regular fuel is $4.40, half a dollar cheaper than a month ago, but still more than 75 cents higher than this time last year.