A suspected gas thief made a mess Wednesday while trying to steal fuel out of U-Haul trucks in Georgia.
The suspect drilled holes into the gas tanks of several trucks, creating a fuel spill, the City of Griffin Police Department said, and firefighters spent the morning cleaning it up.
The theft comes as the fuel supply in the Southeast is strained, following a cyberattack by a group of Russian criminals that shut down the Colonial Pipeline, an oil and gas artery responsible for supplying nearly half of the East Coast’s fuel, McClatchy News reported.
Griffin police believe the timing of the gas theft may not be coincidental.
“While we understand that there is a shortage on gas, we also want to remind everyone to exercise safety, patience and common sense,” the Griffin police department said.
Prices have risen at gas stations across the Southeast, and the limited supply is worsened by panic-buying. Stations are running dry in places. Scattered fights have broken out between motorists jockeying for their turn at the pump.
Officials have said the Colonial Pipeline will be closer to normal operations by Friday, and the flow of fuel will be much greater, McClatchy reported.
Griffin police are asking residents to be patient.
“The shortage is temporary and we anticipate the gas stations returning to full operations soon,” the department said. “In the meantime, remain calm and don’t do anything to endanger yourself and others.”