ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - An Rio Rancho man is very clever.
Clever enough to invent a device that quickly siphons gas out of someone else's car and pumps it right into his.
Deputies, however, say he was not clever enough to avoid getting caught.
Bernalillo Country sheriffs deputies said they caught Scott McCray stealing gas Thursday morning at a rental car business off of Coors Boulevard and Irving Road NW.
"One of the deputies sees a red GMC parked next to a newer model silver pickup," Lt. Andi Taylor said.
As the deputy drove up to the GMC Suburban, McCray took off but was quickly stopped.
"McCray then says 'I was stealing gas, I was siphoning gas from that car,'" Taylor said.
But McCray said he was not using your garden-variety garden hose to siphon gas from the other tank.
He devised something far more efficient, a mobile siphoning unit that snugly stored in a blue box in the back seat of his SUV.
A battery powered pump was connected to different colored hoses. One hose sucked gas out of the unlucky car and another pumped it into McCray's gas tank.
Deputies even said McCray was sure to use a red hose into his tank so it was camouflaged by the color of his suburban.
McCray gave deputies different reasons for stealing the gas.
"One was more sympathetic," Taylor said. "One about losing his job and needing to give money to his wife for gas."
But he also told deputies he lived in a $300,000 home and needed gas for his race car.
KRQE News 13 did not find a race car at the Rio Rancho home, just some sports cars that looked like they had not been driven in a while.
McCray was not home Thursday when News 13 stopped by for a comment, but that is because he is in jail on burglary charges.
Bernalillo County deputies said there has been a recent surge in gas thefts, but they do not know how much of it might be McCray's work.
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