A Madera County reserve sheriff’s deputy caught a gasoline thief more or less in the act Dec. 30 when he responded to a report at about 11:15 p.m. of such a theft being under way.
Reserve Deputy Lester Esparza arrived at a business address in the 10,000 block of Business State Route 41, where he saw a man standing next to a white pickup parked directly over underground fuel tanks on the property.
The covers of the fuel tanks had been removed, according to Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Kayla Serratto.
The suspect, Amarjit Singh, 33, of Fresno, admitted he had started siphoning fuel, Serratto said, but had been able to swipe only a few gallons before being stopped by Deputy Esparza.
The siphoning apparatus included an electric pump installed in space made available by removal of a passenger seat, a black drop-down hose long enough to reach the fuel in the tank and a hose coupler. In the bed of the pickup were two tanks able to hold about 500 gallons of fuel.
Singh was taken to the Madera County Department of Correction where he was booked on charges of petty theft.
The Madera County Sheriff’s Office encourages citizens to report suspicious activity by calling the Communications Center at 675-7770.