Do Propane Tanks Get Stolen? ( Ways to Protect Yourself)

Do propane tanks get stolen?
Locked up tank

Yes, propane tanks can be stolen.

While it’s not a common occurrence, propane tanks can get stolen. This is usually done for the metal value of the tank, as propane itself is not particularly valuable. The tanks are often stolen from construction sites or other commercial properties, as they are typically left outside and are not well-secured.

They are often targeted for theft due to their value, portability, and the fact that they are frequently left outside, making them easily accessible. Here are a few reasons why tanks might be stolen:

  1. Resale Value: The tanks aren’t just useful; they’re also worth a bit of money. People can sell them, either as they are or for the metal they’re made from. This makes them attractive to thieves looking to make a quick buck.
  2. Use in Illegal Activities: It might sound surprising, but the tanks can be used for some not-so-good activities, like making illegal drugs. Because of this, they can be quite sought after in the wrong circles.
  3. Personal Use: Sometimes, people steal propane tanks just because they need or want one and don’t feel like paying for it. It’s a straightforward case of ‘I need it, I’ll take it,’ which unfortunately happens quite often.
  4. Accessibility: Here’s a key point – tanks are often left outside, maybe beside your house or at your business. This makes them really easy for a thief to just walk up and take, especially if they’re not locked up or hidden away.
  5. Lack of Identification: Most tanks don’t have unique markings or serial numbers that make them easily identifiable. This anonymity makes them perfect targets for theft since it’s hard to trace them back to their rightful owner.

To reduce the risk of theft, it’s advisable to store propane tanks in a secure location, use locks or security devices, and maintain visibility and lighting in the area where they are stored.

Who is Stealing Propane Tanks

It’s a question that has been plaguing law enforcement for years: who is stealing propane tanks? The answer, it seems, is a little bit of everyone.

For the most part, tank theft is a crime of opportunity. Thieves will see an unattended tank and decide to take it, often using a vehicle to quickly load it up and drive away. This type of theft is often seen in rural areas, where there are fewer people around to witness the crime.

However, there have also been cases of organized propane tank theft. In these instances, thieves will target locations where they know there are multiple tanks, such as construction sites or storage facilities. They will then use a truck or trailer to haul away the tanks, selling them on the black market for a profit.

Regardless of who is stealing tanks, the result is the same: higher prices for consumers and businesses that rely on the fuel. In some cases, the price of propane has doubled or even tripled as a result of theft. This puts a strain on already tight budgets and can force some people to choose between heating their homes and putting food on the table.

Law enforcement officials are working hard to crack down on propane tank theft, but it’s a difficult crime to prevent. The best way to protect yourself is to be aware of your surroundings and report any suspicious activity to authorities.

Pat Incidents of Theft

There have been several recent incidents of propane tank theft across different regions, highlighting the ongoing issue:

  1. Theft from a Gas Station in Leroy Township: Multiple propane tanks were stolen from a Marathon Gas Station in Leroy Township. The theft occurred in the early hours, and the suspects left the scene in a blue Dodge pickup.
  2. Residential Theft in Newbury: In Newbury, Vermont, a resident reported the theft of two large propane tanks from their property. The tanks, one grey and one white, each with a 100lb capacity, were stolen sometime overnight.
  3. Multiple Thefts in Northeast Philadelphia: In Philadelphia, PA, a significant theft occurred where 18 propane tanks were stolen from a gas station. The thieves cut open the cage that locked the tanks using bolt cutters. This incident raised concerns not just about the loss of revenue but also about the potential misuse of the stolen tanks, such as in meth production or for creating explosive devices.
  4. In Washington Township, New Jersey, a man allegedly stole 24 tanks from a Walmart store on two separate occasions – Christmas Eve and December 30th. The police issued a warrant for the suspect, indicating the seriousness of the crime.
  5. In Northeast Philadelphia, a significant theft occurred where 18 tanks were stolen from a location. The cages locking the tanks were cut open with bolt cutters. This incident not only resulted in financial loss but also raised concerns about the potential misuse of the stolen tanks, such as for meth production or creating explosive devices. The possibility of using stolen propane tanks in illegal activities like meth production, which can damage the tanks to the point of explosion, adds a dangerous dimension to these thefts.

These incidents demonstrate various ways propane tanks can be targeted and stolen, from individual residential thefts to larger-scale commercial thefts. They also underscore the importance of implementing effective security measures to protect these valuable and potentially dangerous items.

Prevention and Protection Strategies

Preventing propane tank theft is crucial, and there are several effective strategies you can use to protect your tanks. Here’s a guide to help you keep your tanks safe:

  1. Secure Storage:
    • Location: Store your tanks in a secure, locked area, like a shed or a fenced-off part of your yard.
    • Concealment: If possible, keep them out of sight to avoid tempting thieves.
    • Accessibility: Make sure the area is difficult for strangers to access but easy for you to check regularly.
  2. Use of Locks and Chains:
    • Specialized Locks: Invest in heavy-duty locks and chains specifically designed for tanks.
    • Secure Anchoring: Attach your tank to a solid, immovable object or a permanent structure.
    • Regular Checks: Frequently check the locks for signs of tampering.
  3. Installation of Surveillance and Alarms:
    • Security Cameras: Install cameras that oversee the area where your tanks are stored. Visible cameras can act as a strong deterrent.
    • Alarm Systems: Consider alarms that trigger if someone tampers with the tank. Immediate alerts can help prevent theft.
  4. Visibility and Lighting:
    • Well-Lit Areas: Ensure that the storage area is well-lit, especially at night. Thieves are less likely to target a brightly lit area.
    • Strategic Placement: Place tanks in areas that are easily visible from your home or business, discouraging potential thieves.
  5. Community and Neighbor Involvement:
    • Neighborhood Watch: Join or start a neighborhood watch program. Alert neighbors can be one of the best defenses against theft.
    • Awareness: Inform your neighbors about the risk of propane tank theft and encourage them to report any suspicious activities.
    • Community Vigilance: Foster a community culture of looking out for each other’s properties, which can significantly reduce the risk of theft.

By implementing these strategies, you create multiple layers of protection for your propane tanks. Not only do these measures make it harder for thieves to steal your tanks, but they also increase the chances of deterring or catching them in the act. Remember, the key is to combine these strategies for maximum effect.

Convenience Stores are Easy Targets

While many people think of convenience stores as a place to buy snacks and drinks, they are also a target for criminals. One crime that is becoming more common is the theft of propane tanks.

Propane tanks are often left outside of convenience stores, making them an easy target for thieves. In most cases, the thieves will simply take the tank and leave, without causing any damage to the store. However, in some cases, the thieves may cause damage to the store to get the tank.

This crime can be very costly for convenience store owners, as they must replace the stolen tanks. In addition, this crime can also pose a safety hazard, as propane is a highly flammable gas.

If you own a convenience store, it is important to take steps to protect your tanks. One way to do this is to install security cameras. This will deter thieves and help you identify them if they do steal a tank. You should also consider placing the tanks inside of a locked cage or enclosure. This will make it more difficult for thieves to take the tanks and will also help protect your store from damage.

There are several reasons that convenience stores are attractive targets for thieves looking to steal propane tanks. For one, these stores typically have a large number of tanks in stock, making them an easy target. Additionally, the tanks are often left outside the store, making them even easier to steal.

Another reason that convenience stores are attractive targets is that they typically do not have security cameras or other security measures in place to deter thieves. This lack of security makes it easy for thieves to steal tanks without being detected.

Many convenience stores are located in remote or rural areas, making it difficult for law enforcement to quickly respond to reports of theft. This leaves thieves with plenty of time to make off with their stolen property before authorities can arrive.

Owners Ofter Leave Their Tank in Their Yard

If you leave your propane tank out in the yard without any protection, it’s pretty easy for someone to steal it. Here’s why:

  1. Easy to Get To: When your tank is out in the open, it’s super easy for a thief to just pick it up and walk away.
  2. Hidden from View: If the tank is in a spot where it’s hard to see from your house or the street, a thief can grab it without anyone noticing.
  3. No Locks or Cameras: If you don’t have any locks or cameras around your tank, there’s nothing to stop or scare off someone who wants to take it.
  4. Worth Stealing: Propane tanks are valuable, both for the money they can be sold for and for using the gas inside. This makes them tempting for thieves.

Here are a few more things you can do to keep your tank safe:

  1. Put it Behind a Fence: If you have a fenced yard, keep your tank inside it. This adds an extra step for anyone trying to steal it.
  2. Don’t Make it Obvious: Try not to let everyone know where your tank is. The less people who know, the safer it is.
  3. Check on It Regularly: Take a look at your tank from time to time. This way, you’ll notice quickly if something’s wrong or if it goes missing.
  4. Talk to Your Neighbors: Let your neighbors know you have a tank. They can help keep an eye on it, especially when you’re not around.
  5. Be Careful with Delivery Times: If you’re getting a tank delivered, try not to leave it outside for too long. The quicker you can put it away safely, the better.
  6. Consider Alarm Systems: Some alarm systems can be set up to alert you if they detect movement around your tank. This can be a great way to scare off a thief or to let you know something’s up.

By taking these simple steps, you can make your propane tank a lot less attractive to thieves and a lot more secure. Remember, the goal is to make it as hard as possible for someone to take it without getting caught.

It’s really important to keep it somewhere safe. Put a lock on it, make sure it’s in a well-lit place where people can see it, or even put a camera nearby. This can help keep your tank safe from thieves.

Legal and Insurance Considerations

When it comes to dealing with the theft of propane tanks, there are both legal and insurance considerations to keep in mind. Understanding these can help you prepare for and respond to such incidents more effectively.

  1. Legal Repercussions for Stealing Propane Tanks:
    • Criminal Charges: Stealing a propane tank is considered theft, which is a criminal offense. The severity of the charge (like misdemeanor or felony) can depend on the value of the tank and the amount of propane stolen.
    • Potential Penalties: Penalties for stealing tanks can include fines, restitution (paying back the value of what was stolen), and possibly jail time, depending on the jurisdiction and the severity of the theft.
    • Additional Charges: If the theft leads to damage (for example, if a tank is mishandled and causes an accident or property damage), the thief could face additional charges like vandalism or reckless endangerment.
  2. Insurance Options:
    • Homeowners or Renters Insurance: If the tank is for personal use at your home, it might be covered under your homeowners or renters insurance policy. However, coverage limits and deductibles will apply, so it’s important to check with your insurance provider.
    • Commercial Insurance: For businesses, the tanks are typically covered under a commercial property insurance policy. Again, it’s crucial to confirm with your insurer what is and isn’t covered, especially for high-value tanks.
    • Specific Coverage: Some insurance policies might not cover propane tanks by default, or they might have limited coverage. It’s often possible to add specific coverage for these tanks, especially if they’re essential to your home or business operations.
    • Preventive Measures and Discounts: Implementing security measures (like locks, alarms, and surveillance) can sometimes lower your insurance premiums. Insurers often appreciate and reward efforts to prevent theft.

The theft of propane tanks is a serious legal issue with potential criminal repercussions. From an insurance perspective, coverage for propane tanks is often included in standard policies, but it’s important to verify the specifics with your insurance provider. Ensuring that you have the right coverage can provide peace of mind and financial protection in the event of a theft.


Propane tanks do get stolen, and it’s a real issue to be aware of. These tanks are targeted because they’re valuable, easy to grab, and often left unsecured.

Whether it’s for their resale value, personal use, or even illegal activities, thieves find these tanks attractive. But don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to protect your tank.

From simple steps like using locks and keeping the tank visible, to more advanced measures like installing surveillance cameras and alarms, you can significantly reduce the risk of theft. Remember, the key is to make it as difficult and risky as possible for someone to steal your tank.

By being proactive and taking these precautions, you can keep your propane tank safe and secure.

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