Stolen diesel fuel truck found in D.C.

Police conclude tanker was stolen for financial gain, not terrorism


A diesel tanker truck stolen in Lancaster city overnight Monday rattled nerves in the nation's capital Tuesday when the vehicle turned up parked on a street in northeast Washington, D.C. District of Columbia police Sgt. James Manning confirmed Wednesday by e-mail that concerns about possible terrorism led a police bomb squad unit to inspect the Heating Oil Partners truck that was stolen from a company fueling station near Manheim Pike. No explosives were found, but the vehicle's 3,500-gallon fuel storage tank was empty, according to Manning.

He said the truck was likely stolen for financial gain. The vehicle, taken from 1117 McKinley Ave., near the border of Manheim Township and Lancaster city, contained about 2,800 gallons of diesel fuel when it was stolen, Manheim Township police said.

The price of diesel fuel in Lancaster County hit a record high of $3.59 per gallon seven weeks ago, according to AAA. It sold for an average of $3.56 per gallon Wednesday, up $1 per gallon from a year ago.

Heating Oil Partners, which operates a fleet of mobile on-site truck fueling tankers that distribute fuel to its oil trucks in 10 mid-Atlantic states, did not return several phone calls Wednesday. A company official Tuesday said the truck had been found before 7:30 that night and that employees were en route to pick it up. Manheim Township police, who took over the investigation of the stolen truck Wednesday from Lancaster city police, said investigators went to Washington Wednesday, but did not provide further details. Media sources reported the truck was found by tracking its on-board GPS system.

The fuel truck was the second stolen this month in Lancaster County. U.S. Homeland Security broadcast a national alert Jan. 11 after a diesel fuel tanker truck was stolen from Leffler's Oil, 403 N. Sixth St., Denver. Police are continuing to search for that truck, which was stolen sometime between 4 p.m. Jan. 4 and 6:30 a.m. Jan. 7, officials said. The 1992 International truck, valued at $25,000, was loaded with 1,029 gallons of highway diesel fuel.