Frustrations over the gas shortage took a new twist yesterday when the managers of eight service stations found someone had cut a path through the Tysons Corner-Reston area.
As commuters pulled in during the morning rush hour looking for gasoline, service stations attendants explained about the "slasher." When the attendants had arrived for work, they found 65 hoses cut on the gas pumps at the eight stations.
"We've got a real frustrated motorist on our hands here," a spokesman for the Fairfax County police said. Authorities said they had no suspects and were uncertain about the number of persons that might have been involved.
"This covers a radius of about 7 miles when you count all the stations," the police spokesman said. "We aren't sure when he started or where he finished."
Roger Locher, manager of the Amoco station in the 10000 block of Leesburg Pike, was about to fill his car's tank about 7 a.m. when he noticed a minor flood.
"I turned on the nozzle and darn near drowned," Locer said. "I think I would have been a lot more scared if ours was the only station that got it, but this guy went out and had a real blast."
Most of the stations were shut down for about two hours, but a Sunoco on the Leesburg Pike closed for the day.
"Strangely enough, we've been running normal hours. We've also had no limit on the amount of gas we've had to sell," said Glen Brincefield, co-owner of the Gulf station at 11410 N. Shore Dr.
"The longest wait I can remember for anybody was about 15 minutes, and even then we didn't turn anybody away. This the sort of thing you might expect in California with the more severe shortages, but not here," Brincefield added.
"I guess this was really kind of comical in a sense," he added. "I can't really remember anybody over the past few weeks who really got upset."
Policemen on patrol in the area passed several of the vandalized stations throughout the night, but the damage was not noticeable, authorities said. Police said the vandalism was confined to the hoses at each station.
Three Gulf stations vandalized are at 1818 Wiehle Dr., 11410 N. Shore Dr., and 11854 Sunrise Valley Dr. Five stations had hoses cut on the Leesbury Pike. They are the Exxon at 11056, the Sunoco at 8536, an independent at 8411, the Amoco at 10701 and the Arco at 10510.
"I didn't know what the heck to think when i first discovered this," said Bobby Wheeler, co-owner of the North Shore Drive Sunoco station.
"Stealing the gasoline would have made more sense. I could understand that. I've been pumping gas for 10 years. . . and I've never seen anything like this."