COMPTON ( — Sheriff’s Deputies in Compton were on patrol Tuesday when they reportedly saw a suspicious blue van parked over a gas station’s underground fuel storage tank.

The tank is located at 4351 E. Rosecrans Avenue.

Deputies with the Compton Sheriff’s Station Special Assignment Team reportedly saw a hand protrude out from the center floorboard of the van, pull-out a hose from the underground tank and close the metal cover lid. The van then drove out of the gas station.

The deputies conducted a traffic stop believing the occupants of the van had just committed a gasoline theft.

During the stop, deputies discovered five filled 55-gallon tanks inside the van, as well as a pump and a water hose. All five tanks contained diesel fuel, totalling approximately 275 gallons.

The three males were arrested for grand theft of diesel fuel. The three were booked at the Century Regional Detention Facility with bail set at $20,000.

Transporting fuel in this manner and quantity is extremely dangerous, said officials with the Sheriff’s department.

Compton Firefighters assisted in rendering the diesel safe.

Authorities would like to ask the public to report any suspicious fuel transportation. They also said, if safe to do so, to record the vehicle’s license number, suspect description and to call 911 immediately.

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