SPECIAL REPORT: Tanker trucks and gas canisters stolen in Texas

| 6/2/2004

The FBI issued an alert this week for two propane trucks and 15 gas canisters that were stolen over the Memorial Day weekend in San Antonio.

FBI Agent-In-Charge Patrick Patterson of San Antonio said the possibility that the propane could be used to create a bomb prompted him to notify the National Joint Terrorism Task Force in Washington and law-enforcement officials in Texas.

"Four years ago, we probably would not be too concerned about this," Patterson said June 2 on NBC's "Today." "It would be a major theft and handled like any other criminal investigation. Because of the nature of the day, we are very, very concerned about the whereabouts of these two trucks."

San Antonio Police Chief Albert Ortiz called the theft of the propane trucks from Ferrelgas “a very professional job.” Ortiz said the individuals cut a fence and broke a lock to get away with the trucks, one of which had a 2,000-gallon tank, and another that had 3,000 gallons. Both tanks were 85 percent full.

Patterson is also concerned about 15 canister tanks that were stolen from a Methodist Ambulatory Surgery Center. Four of the tanks contained nitrous, three had carbon dioxide, three contained oxygen and four of the tanks were empty.

Patterson said he didn't know if the contents of the tanks could be mixed to make a weapon, but he offered another scenario. "The tank could be emptied, and other items (could be) put in it to make it an improvised explosive device," he said, "which would be essentially a bomb."

Some specifics

The Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administrationreported that the two stolen Kenworth trucks were “bobtail” tanker trucks with corrected unit numbers of D112 and B889, respectively.

Entry was gained by cutting a hole in the fence and cutting the padlock off the front gate to exit. The lock was not found at the site. The trucks did not have anti-theft devices or GPS tracking devices, nor were there surveillance cameras in the lot.

Both trucks had “remote” anti-theft devices installed, but those devices had been defeated.

The trucks are one 2004 Kenworth T30, Texas license 8WXW38, VIN 2NKMHD7X14M056038, unit number 0112; and one 2003 Kenworth T30, Texas license 7FFR20, VIN number 2NKMHD7X33M388431, unit number 8889.