Alleged Thief Sets Up His Own Gas Station

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(Stockton, CA)
Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Police say 33-year-old Joseph Marchbanks of Stockton was caught early Monday morning using  a siphon tube attached to an electric pump, to steal gasoline from an underground storage tank at a local filling station.

Police believe the suspect is responsible for an undetermined number of thefts from other stations.

Officer Sean Fenner says Marchbanks had set up a makeshift gas station at his house.

"He was pumping this gasoline into a big 750-gallon storage tank. After that he would sell the gasoline to local residents in the neighborhood for a dollar fifty a gallon."

Marchbanks is free on his own recognizance after being arrested on theft charges. He could not be reached for comment.

A Central Valley station owner declined to go into detail, but said it's not difficult to break into an underground tank. He added it's risky to siphon gas with a pump because a spark would create an explosion.

Police say the most common way thieves steal from gas stations is to crack the security code of a pump.

(Photo courtesy :Stockton Police Department)