Unusual gas theft in Perth, Ont. has a local brewery scratching its head

A business in Perth, Ont. is down a delivery vehicle after a vandal drilled a hole into the bottom of its fuel tank sometime over the weekend.

“On Tuesday morning we fired one of the vans up and it didn’t run very long,” said Perth Brewery co-owner Jeremy Steeves. “I’ve never heard of anything like that before so it’s really surprising.”

Steeves says an employee got into the van and backed it up to the loading door, noticing the low fuel light was on.

“We didn’t really think anything of it off the top,” said Andrew McDonald, who helped load the van for deliveries.

“We went to start it again, and it wouldn’t start at all, which is weird. We figured there would still be enough gas in it to move it,” McDonald added.

“I sent the driver over to get a little jerrycan, he brought it back to me, I started putting the gas in the van, immediately heard it starting to pour right out the bottom.”

McDonald then crawled underneath and noticed the 3/4″ sized drill hole in the tank.

“I was in shock really, I didn’t even believe it at first,” he said. “It’s a perfect drill hole in the bottom.”

Steeves said he has been left scratching his head, never experiencing anything like this in 29 years of business.

“This is a beautiful small town with very caring residents and it’s a little surprising right? I don’t know the motive behind it,” he said. “Somebody was obviously desperate on a cold night or whenever it happened. It is a surprise.”

Steeves says a police report has been filed with the Ontario Provincial Police, and they are checking security footage of the parking lot.

“That’s definitely an uncommon method,” said Acting Sgt. Tylor Copeland of East Region OPP when asked about the situation. “We do not get calls for gas thefts very often.”

Steeves, meanwhile, is left pondering his next steps, in order to get his van back on the road.

“We’ve learned that it’s probably not the sort of problem that you can Band-Aid, so I think there will be a gas tank replacement coming in the near future,” he said.

McDonald says the brewery was excited to get its deliveries out this week after the province reopened on Monday, and delivers all over eastern Ontario from Kingston to the Ottawa valley.

“The week before we were a little slower on deliveries and then everybody ramped up this week so we had tons of places to go to,” McDonald said.

“We were very excited for our industry and the economy opening up this week and we have a good list of accounts we want to get some product to,” added Steeves. “A little discouraging having one of the vans down for something like this.”

The brewery also put a post up on Facebook that was quickly shared more than 500 times, letting people know to have an eye out within the community.

“I’ve grown up in this community my whole life and I mean you hear about little things here and there but we’ve been very fortunate here to never have any problems at our brewery or any of our equipment of the vehicles,” added Steeves, not letting this incident hinder deliveries. 

“You don’t let something like this slow you down, you’ve got to accept it, fix it and move on for sure,” he said.