ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to vehicles has been reported after someone intentionally contaminated diesel fuel at First Fuel Banks in St. Cloud.
The company reported the crime on Friday, telling police that the diesel storage tanks located at the Lincoln Avenue and Waite Park First Fuel locations were spiked with a foreign substance.
"My business is my heart and my life and my soul," said Jim Feneis, owner of First Fuel Bank. "Your biggest asset in business is your customer and when your business and your customer gets put in jeopardy, it's devastating."
Several St. Cloud city vehicles were damaged, as well as private business vehicles. The damage to the city vehicles is estimated at tens of thousands of dollars.
"Whatever the diesel fuel was contaminated with did havoc to the emission control systems on the 2000 or newer diesel-driven trucks," Feneis explained.
He said that about an hour after filling up last Tuesday morning customers began calling with mechanical issues on their vehicles.
Feneis made the difficult decision to drain 55,000 gallons of fuel, which equals about $200,000 in losses.
He sent a sample of the fuel to be tested and later learned that it was some sort of liquid fertilizer that was causing the problem.
"We're just celebrating our 50th anniversary of our family business, and I can even get emotional when I talk about it," Feneis said.
Feneis said he hopes the public can help find out who is responsible the mess that was created.
If anyone has any information about the crime or the suspects involved, contact the St. Cloud Police Department at 320-345-4444 or the Waite Park Police Department at 320-251-6300.