Thieves targeting fuel tanks to siphon out gas is nothing new. For one Omaha man however, someone went to great lengths to steal a few gallons from him.
It could be dubbed an old dog learning a new trick in the theft. According to court documents, the tools needed to perform the gas heist included a cordless drill and a two-gallon bucket.
“This Privet Drive sign served as precursor to the evening, I put this out about a week before Halloween to get people excited,” Matt Heebner said. Heebner’s Field Club neighborhood home wasn’t part of the Hollywood movie series Harry Potter, nor was the scene that played out in his driveway last month.
"He did one here and it looked like it didn't go all the way through and then the one over there, it was able to go through,” Heebner said.
Heebner was the victim of a real life gas theft from his pickup. "On my truck I have a lock on the gas tank. It didn't allow him to actually get into the gas tank here."
So, instead a thief went down under to get to the petroleum. "He was underneath the truck and had drilled two holes in the gas tank in order to let it come down, he was collecting it, I think in a bucket of some sort."
According to Omaha police reports, a neighbor called police after seeing a man walking away from the truck carrying a red bucket. The neighbor saw the man twice, several minutes apart in the alley and near the truck. "I thanked him many, many times for being a good neighbor,” Heebner said.
The call led to the arrest of Thomas Miller, who was booked for the crime. How was Miller caught?
A search warrant revealed an officer found a car that belonged to Miller in the alley. The windows were down and besides smelling gas, the officer saw in plain view a cordless drill, a red gas container and a plastic two-gallon bucket.
Heebner's truck has since been repaired and with a real life story of being a good neighbor. "Be vigilant, be aware and in the case here, have really good neighbors,” Heebner said.
Miller is currently being held on a $10,000 bond. He's charged with theft and property damage to a motor vehicle. Miller’s scheduled to appear in court on December 3rd.