Sunshine Coast’s car sharing service down a truck for now

The Coast Car Co-op’s Roberts Creek pick-up has been used three to four times a week since coming into service in February, but it’s out of commission for now because someone drilled a hole into its tank to steal gas.

While record-high gas prices have bored holes into Sunshine Coast wallets, they may have contributed to a different kind of hole for the Coast Car Co-op.

Sometime overnight Saturday, May 28, the non-profit car-sharing service’s 2010 Ford Ranger truck kept at the Roberts Creek Library was vandalized when someone drilled a hole into its gas tank and stole the gas inside.

“We’re trying so hard to prove that a rural and distributed community can support a co-op and we’ve just kind of turned the corner the last six or eight months,” said co-op board chair Betty Baxter. “So this is a blow to us to have a criminal act that puts our vehicle back out of service, which means our members can’t use it and we can’t pay expenses because we lose income.”

The hole wasn’t discovered until Sunday afternoon, when two co-op members who had the truck booked picked it up and got as far as the school before running out of gas, said Baxter. “They call our line and our administrator runs over with five liters of gas and pours it in – and it pours right through.”

Back at the parking spot, there was a cut-off milk jug underneath where the hole had been, half full of gas, so there had been no puddle to pique passersby to the vandalism.

The co-op covered the gas in the school parking lot with cardboard and the fire department attended to clean up at both locations Monday morning. Police also attended the scene.

Baxter said that police told her this kind of gas theft was getting more common in northern BC “People don’t suction anymore, because they get more gas faster if they just bore a hole,” said Baxter.

Now, the non-profit of 300-odd members and a fleet of five vehicles is down a pick-up until the ICBC claim can be filed and the truck fixed.

“Most people would think it’s not a big deal, but it means 20 per cent of our fleet is down and that truck’s been used at least three, four times a week ever since we put it into the fleet in late February,” said Baxter . “Inconvenient to our members and a tragedy.

“It’s horrible when people steal period, but when they steal from a nonprofit that’s offering a community service – that kind of gets my goat, I have to tell you.”

Baxter is asking that the community keep a watch over the rest of the co-op’s vehicles, and to call the car share co-op at 778-374-3092.

“There’s a phone number on every vehicle and if they see some they think is suspicious on one of those vehicles, phone that number and we’ll be there in a heartbeat.”

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