UPDATE: Father Jim Sichko has been in contact with Pastor Rodney Coffey from the Dayspring Church in Menifee County and will be paying for the repairs to the church van (around $1,000) as well as giving them a fill up on gas.
MENIFEE COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Pastor Rodney Coffey is disappointed after someone stole gas from his church's van over the weekend.
"You can still see it dripping right here," he said while pointing to a hole in the Dayspring Church van gas tank. "The hole is right there. They punctured the bottom. The bottom of the tank. It's a plastic tank. A lot of your newer vehicles have plastic tanks and it makes it easier to puncture the bottom."
Pastor Coffey believes the thieves drilled a hole in the tank because it has safety guards in place that prevents people from siphoning gas.
He said the tank had just been filled up and it cost $125. All of that gas is now gone. The local mechanic says it'll cost about a thousand dollars to fix.
"I feel like a patch would just be temporary so the tank needs to be, needs to be replaced," the mechanic said. "Better off to be safe than, be safe than sorry."
It has to be safe because the van is used to bring people to and from church who don't have transportation. It also helps pick up and deliver food for the food pantry.
"It just puts the ministry behind," Coffey said. "It puts us a little bit behind of where we were so it's kind of unfortunate."
The Menifee County Sheriff's Department is investigating and Deputy Troyal Cox tells LEX 18 he worries they'll see more cases like this.
"Honestly I'd say it could happen again given with the way things are going with gas prices," he said.
AAA of the Blue Grass said Tuesday the average price of regular gas in Menifee County is $4.49, which is a record.
To protect yourself, Deputy Cox recommends parking in a well-lit area near your house so you can keep an ear out and an eye on your vehicle. Security cameras also help.
Pastor Coffey said the church van was in a well-lit area, but no cameras captured the theft. Those are being installed soon. As for those responsible, he wants them to be held accountable in hopes they don't do it to someone else.
"The sad part is if they would have just came and asked, we've got many different programs that bless people," he said. "If they would have just came and asked, they would have been blessed with a whole lot more than five gallons of gas or however much gas they got."