Thieves siphon gas from Fresno's HOPE Foundation

FRESNO, Calif.

Stacey Houk, relies on these trucks and the fuel that runs them -- to transport animals to and from the HOPE Foundation in Fresno, as part of her mission to reduce the thousands of abandoned, injured and unwanted pets throughout the Central Valley.

"They're critical," said Houk. "We serve over 40 different organizations and provide spay and neuter services for them from Madera all the way up through Tulare County."

But her mission came to a screeching halt Tuesday afternoon, when a driver discovered someone had siphoned gas from both of her vehicles. And cut the fuel line, to the most important one of all.

Houk said, "We have a much larger capacity when we're dealing with pit bulls, shepherds that kind of a thing."

Costing the company that relies on donations, nearly $900.00 in gas and repairs.

"The cost is important, because we do set a budget and solicit donations," said Houk. "What I find further appalling is you're stealing from a non-profit, ya know?"

Employees believe the thieves hopped over a fence sometime Monday night or early Tuesday morning to gain access to the trucks parked in the employee parking lot.

Ruben Berrones added, "I don't know why someone would come to a pet place and do something like that. Kind of disappointing."

The animal foundation does have security cameras, but Houk says they were turned away from the secluded area where the vans were parked.

The non-profit has now rectified that problem, moving the vans to a well-lit area and calling in a security company to help keep watch.

It's now working to get the word out, in hopes of preventing others from getting their gas guzzled up by thirsty thieves.

Houk added, "If it's happening to us, a non-profit who takes donations and works to better the community, goodness knows what they're going to do to someone's car parked in the front yard, or front of your house."

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