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Police: Suspected Neillsville gas thieves caught

Police said that the suspects admitted to the crimes while in custody Saturday.
Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 3:51 PM CDT
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NEILLSVILLE, Wis. (WEAU) - Neillsville police say they have found the suspects sought for stealing gas from an automobile dealership in the city.

Four people were brought in Saturday as suspects, including 18-year-old Alexander Drinka of rural Neillsville and three others under the age of 18, according to the Neillsville Police Department.

Gross Motors in Neillsville posted on Facebook Wednesday that someone had drilled holes into a used Jeep Patriot’s fuel tank on the dealership’s downtown lot Tuesday night. Mechanics noticed the damage when the vehicle was brought in for routine maintenance and a gas trail was found leading outside from the vehicle.

Owner Mike Gross estimated the thieves took about $20 worth of gas and caused $1,500 worth of damage to the vehicle. Gross offered a $2,000 cash reward for information leading to an arrest, which was later raised to $3,000 after another vehicle in Neillsville reportedly also had a hole drilled in its gas tank.

Information Released by: Chief Jim Mankowski Telephone (715) 743-3122 On Thursday, March 10, 2022, our department...

Posted by Neillsville Police Department on Monday, March 14, 2022

Police said that the suspects admitted to the crimes while in custody Saturday. Drinka told investigators that he and a 15-year-old boy used a cordless drill to make a hole in the vehicles’ gas tanks and then put the stolen gas into empty pop and juice bottles that he had collected over time.

In a Facebook post Sunday, Gross Motors thanked the Neillsville Police Department, a neighboring business that provided security camera video, the Clark County Sheriff’s Department and others who provided tips and information.

Charges were recommended to the Clark County District Attorney’s Office and Clark County Social Services.

CAUGHT!!! We do have some positive news to share. The four people responsible for stealing gas from our vehicle and...

Posted by Gross Motors on Sunday, March 13, 2022

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