snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Urban Legends > Crime

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10 January 2007, 12:50 AM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 108,549
Criminal uses sugar water to stall cars

Comment: A new safety issue we need to be aware of:

I just wanted to let you all know of something that happened to me today
in the Target parking lot. Be aware of this and let everyone you know be
aware so this does not happen to anyone else.

I was at Target today to return something which only took a couple of
minutes. When I pulled into the parking lot a man in a car pulled in a
couple spaces down from me. He started to go into the store about the same
time as I did, then turned back around and went back to his car. I went
into Target returned my items and walked back out to get into my car. When
I walked out, he was walking away from my car carrying a small gas can. I
noticed there was fluid on the side of my car and a puddle beside it. I
got into my car not sure of what happened, wrote down his license plate #
and left. He followed me out of the parking lot.

I was only able to drive about a half a mile and my car started acting
funny. It died on me as I was driving and I was able to pull into an area
business along the highway. I just sat in my car and called the police.

The man drove by three times as I waited. The police who came took a
report and said that he had poured sugar water into my gas tank which is
what made my car stall. It was a great way to get a woman by herself to be
stranded on the streets. Luckily for me I was able to stop where there
were people around. The police know where the car came from and are
working on this now.

Not sure what will happen but my car is now in the shop not running, but
it could have been much worse for me. Just be aware that this is happening
and always be aware of your surroundings. It certainly scared me and I am
grateful that nothing else happened.

Please pass this on to your wife, church member and friends...
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 10 January 2007, 02:12 AM
threehead_99
 
Posts: n/a
Cheer

because we all know the fuel fuel in the fuel pump, the in-line filter, and the filters by the carb/throttle body won't catch sugar by then. damn those sugar hoarding maniacs and their fiendish ways!

yay, first post!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10 January 2007, 11:25 AM
Beckythump
 
Posts: n/a
Ponder

Can you even access the fuel tank without the car key? Every vehicle I've seen requires a key (usually ignition) to open the petrol tank, and lock it in place again before removing the key.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10 January 2007, 11:57 AM
Ravenhull's Avatar
Ravenhull Ravenhull is offline
 
Join Date: 13 September 2005
Location: Mobile, AL
Posts: 1,935
Icon102

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckythump View Post
Can you even access the fuel tank without the car key? Every vehicle I've seen requires a key (usually ignition) to open the petrol tank, and lock it in place again before removing the key.
Most American cars, especially those more than a couple of years old, do not require the keys to do so.

As for the sugar water thing, it has been demonstrated that sugar in itself isn't that hazardous to the engine. The water can cause problems, but that's something a mechanic can fix in an afternoon.

The biggest thing is that I would think that the set up for this would be too suspicious for those who might see (man gets a can of 'gas' out of his car and puts it in another... could be legit, but odd).
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10 January 2007, 12:02 PM
llewtrah's Avatar
llewtrah llewtrah is offline
 
Join Date: 13 December 2001
Location: Chelmsford, UK
Posts: 16,364
Default

To open the filler cap, most modern cars in Britain require either a key (may be the ignition key or may be a separate key) or you use a release latch which is near the driver's seat. Fuel here is so expensive that siphoning is a big worry.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10 January 2007, 01:15 PM
Griffin2020
 
Posts: n/a
Default

What is the supposed purpose of this supposed attack?
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10 January 2007, 01:32 PM
Beachlife!'s Avatar
Beachlife! Beachlife! is online now
 
Join Date: 22 June 2001
Location: Lansing, MI
Posts: 25,613
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenhull View Post
Most American cars, especially those more than a couple of years old, do not require the keys to do so....
Is that really true? I honestly can't say as I've only owned Toyotas and Hondas for the last decade. But I haven't had a car with unlocked gas cap since my old Maverick which I owned 20 years ago.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10 January 2007, 02:05 PM
Doug4.7
 
Posts: n/a
Icon05

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beachlife! View Post
Is that really true? I honestly can't say as I've only owned Toyotas and Hondas for the last decade. But I haven't had a car with unlocked gas cap since my old Maverick which I owned 20 years ago.
All three of my modern cars (2000, 2003, 2004) do not have locking gas caps. When I was in college, my cheap Dodge had it, but not my "nice" cars I have now.

I am not sure what that means...
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10 January 2007, 02:49 PM
snapdragonfly's Avatar
snapdragonfly snapdragonfly is offline
 
Join Date: 15 March 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 10,733
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beachlife! View Post
Is that really true? I honestly can't say as I've only owned Toyotas and Hondas for the last decade. But I haven't had a car with unlocked gas cap since my old Maverick which I owned 20 years ago.
Not one car I've owned (counting, let's see...about 12 now, I guess, foreign and domestic) has ever had a locking gas cap. I don't think. I don't remember one locking, that's for sure.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10 January 2007, 03:49 PM
RealityChuck's Avatar
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
 
Join Date: 14 November 2003
Location: Schenectady, NY
Posts: 1,329
Default

But many American cars do have gas covers that can only be opened if you have unlocked the car. (This is not the gas cap, which covers the pipe to the tank, but the metal door that opens to reveal the gas cap.) You pull a lever to open the door, and it can't be opened otherwise (I've wondered what happens if the cable breaks).

But older cars don't have this, nor do they have locking gas caps.

The sugar water would probably cause problems. Water in the gas can certainly stall the car, and sugar in the gas tank was a long-time trick to cause a car to stall (even if it didn't, as the UL says, wreck it). So it's technically possible, but logistically unlikely.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10 January 2007, 04:40 PM
Grand Illusion
 
Posts: n/a
Icon86

In my youth, I once vandalized a car by pourung a single can of Coke down the gas tank. I wasn't there to see what kind of trouble the driver had, or how long he fought with it, but I did see a tow truck hauling it away.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10 January 2007, 04:55 PM
nomad55's Avatar
nomad55 nomad55 is offline
 
 
Join Date: 08 January 2007
Location: Northwestern Virginia
Posts: 23
Default

if you are lucky, you got away with only the fuel filter messed up. i hope that is all, because it could verry well clog or even destroy the injection system good luck
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 10 January 2007, 04:59 PM
DawnStorm's Avatar
DawnStorm DawnStorm is offline
 
Join Date: 11 March 2003
Location: Montgomery County, MD
Posts: 12,668
Shifty Eyes

Neither my car or my husband's have locking gas caps until I bought some on Ebay back in 2005.
IIRC my husband's first car--a Honda Civic--had a gas door that could only be unopened by flipping some switch on the steering column.


Dawn--pour some sugar on it--Storm
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 10 January 2007, 05:09 PM
evilrabbit
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Did anyone else see the episode of Mythbusters were they tested ways to wreck an engine? I remember they tried sugar in the gas tank, but I can't recall the result. I'm having trouble keeping the outcomes of the different test straight. I don't think sugar did anything to the engine, but I may be confused (I think one test did damage the engine, but I can't remember which one).
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10 January 2007, 09:30 PM
OptimusShr
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I saw the episode of mythbusters evilrabbit. The sugar did nothing and sugar water is sure as hell not going to do anything either.

Also every car I have driven, all of them from the early mid-ninties, did NOT have a locking gas cap. However you have to open the gas cover in the car itself. The story as presented in th OP is definately false.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 10 January 2007, 09:46 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
 
Join Date: 27 March 2004
Location: Sachse, TX
Posts: 3,130
Default

Why would a criminal go to the extra effort of mixing sugar into the water when simple water will cause the car to stall? The water sinks to the bottom of the tank where the fuel pump picks up fuel. About 1/2 mile of travel sounds about right for a car that has had water poured into the tank.

And yes, there are many, many cars on the road today that the fuel tank can be opened without any sort of interior lever or an exterior key being required.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 10 January 2007, 10:18 PM
WildaBeast's Avatar
WildaBeast WildaBeast is offline
 
Join Date: 18 July 2002
Location: Folsom, CA
Posts: 11,853
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
Why would a criminal go to the extra effort of mixing sugar into the water when simple water will cause the car to stall?
Because even though we know it's false, there are enough people out there who believe sugar will do more harm to the engine than water alone, and maybe this hypothetical criminal is one of them.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 10 January 2007, 10:23 PM
sovran's Avatar
sovran sovran is offline
 
Join Date: 22 August 2005
Location: Carlisle, PA
Posts: 247
Default

My Subaru has a gas tank a 6 year old can get into (don't ask me how I know this, I just do, ok? ) The outer cover has no lock, neither does the gas cap.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 10 January 2007, 10:36 PM
LittleDuck's Avatar
LittleDuck LittleDuck is offline
 
Join Date: 29 October 2002
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 2,329
Default

OUr car doesn't have a locking cap but it does have an interior switch. I recall reading that there is a way to open it if the switch breaks, but I can't recall what that way is. Also, you can buy locking gas caps in most auto parts stores (I looked into it last year when the gas prices were over $4.00 and after our license plate was stolen).
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 10 January 2007, 10:38 PM
LittleDuck's Avatar
LittleDuck LittleDuck is offline
 
Join Date: 29 October 2002
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 2,329
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by evilrabbit View Post
Did anyone else see the episode of Mythbusters were they tested ways to wreck an engine? I remember they tried sugar in the gas tank, but I can't recall the result. I'm having trouble keeping the outcomes of the different test straight. I don't think sugar did anything to the engine, but I may be confused (I think one test did damage the engine, but I can't remember which one).
IIRC, bleach was what caused the worst outcome. I loved when they stuck the potatoes in the tail pipe and let them loose
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 02:56 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.