Cheeseburger In Gas Tank: How Can That Happen?

August 1, 2010

A Rock Hill South Carolina woman found a cheeseburger in her gas tank. That’s right, a number of TV stations and the local newspaper reported in their online editions that it cost the owner $1,000 to have a cheeseburger and pickle removed from her gas tank. The account said that she filed a police report; certainly the blatant misuse of fast food in this way must be considered a felony.

In this space, the exorbitant cost of auto repairs is grist for the mill and has been used as a jumping off point for advice on how to avoid these fiascos. Lessons Learned From Car Repair Fraud posted on May 11, 2010 is an example.     

However, in this case I understand how it could cost this much to de-beef this vehicle. The technician would have to drain and drop the gas tank. In addition, some cleaning would have to be done and then there’s the CSI work needed to determine that the contaminant was indeed something along the lines of a whopper with cheese. If you have ever noticed the size of the hole that accepts the gas nozzle, you understand that there isn’t a patty around, no matter how greasy or overcooked, that can fit through that hole with or without the bun.

So the evidence must have been returned to its ground form and trickled into the gas tank. The pickle, however, when compressed between the thumb and index finger could enter the tank from the filler neck. Possibly an alternate entry point was used. But this is pretty much a closed looped system so that eliminates that theory.

No information is available as to the condition of the burger or the type of vehicle involved. Let’s say the patty was found intact and was identifiable as part of a value meal, this would allow for two additional theories. The vandal was so determined to do harm to the victim that he or she discreetly dropped the tank and placed the fast food in the tank knowing that it would eventually disintegrate and foul the fuel supply.

The other possibility is that the vehicle was a late model, say a 2010 Malibu produced during GM’s financial crisis and the cheeseburger was inserted either inadvertently or maliciously into the tank in a lame attempt to make a statement.

All this is just conjecture and as the news accounts report, the victim doesn’t have the slightest idea how the beef and garnish got into the tank. This mystery may never be solved but we are open to suggestions.[WSOCTV]

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