By Lauren Leamanczyk, WBZ-TV

MERRIMACK, NH (CBS) – Police departments around New Hampshire have been starting to see gas thefts. Now, in Merrimack, crooks are targeting home heating fuel, something police say they haven’t seen in a long time. It’s costing homeowners hundreds of dollars.

Barbara and Lawrence Morrison noticed it when the heat went out. The oil company came and found their full oil tank had been drained dry. At four dollars a gallon, refilling it hit the retired couple hard.

“That’s a lot of money to me,” says Lawrence. “$800 to do that again and it should have lasted until the end of this month and that’s when I called the police.”

Across town, thieves targeted another neighbor. This time, they emptied the diesel from his truck and took a couple hundred gallons of heating oil too.

“We haven’t seen something like this in a long time,” says Merrimack Police Captain Pete Albert. “It usually coincides when there’s a significant increase in the cost of motor fuel or home heating fuel.”

Captain Albert says he doesn’t know if the two Merrimack cases are linked, but he wants residents to be on the lookout.

Rick Saari at Rochette’s Oil says stealing the oil isn’t hard to do with a hose and a truck.

He’s got his oil locked up and says at four dollars a gallon and rising his customers need to protect their fuel too.

“There’s a number of ways you can secure your tank with locking caps,” says Saari. “Putting flood lights out by the tank is probably the best way of doing it.”

Gas and oil thefts have been reported not just in Merrimack, but also in Manchester, Salem, and northern New Hampshire communities. If gas prices keep rising, police say they won’t be surprised if they see even more.

Comments (8)
  1. Gerard says:

    Does NH have a law that heating oil tanks must be located outside the dwelling or something?

    1. metoo says:

      No they don’t. But houses without basements have little choice. Underground tanks are too much liability, so free standing outside tanks are the only viable option.

  2. judge and jury says:

    even if the tank is inside and the cap is unlocked they can syphon the oil out. come to my house, make my day…

    1. metoo says:

      In my house there are too many elbows in the filler pipe to allow a hose to enter the tank. Even IF the thief could get a hose down there, he would be in for a big surprise; the tanks are empty! I haven’t bought any of that ripoff oil for several years now. We switched to wood pellets and have saved thousands of dollars each year. Drown in your oil Exxon/Mobil haha

  3. Rob Cleary says:

    Now that we are on the fast track to becoming a third world country, remember that it is Obama that is responsible for this anarchy. After all, He is a product of a third world country and the leader of the welfare party.His failed energy policies (actually, all of his policies) are directly responsible for the dire straights we now find ourselves in. Obama has failed America in ways that one could only imagine just a few short years ago. The elitist pigs in his circles could care less if the peasants freeze to death.

  4. JohnC says:

    Crude oil is a commodity that is subject to OPEC and other international monetary policies. It is supply and demand. China and India are both using far more crude then they used to. The demand for crude is greater, and the supply isn’t. This is not the fault of President Obama.

  5. Rob Cleary says:

    Obama Policies are the # 1 factor behind the fear that is driving speculation. We have no leader and the whole world knows it.

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