Published: Jul 28, 2011 4:54 AM EDT
Updated: Jul 28, 2011 2:44 AM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- It seems as if some of the missing puzzle pieces may have been found in the mystery surrounding thousands of dollars in missing fuel in Cape Coral. Wednesday afternoon, a compromised fuel device was found inside a city car. The mayor is saying whoever is responsible should be fired on the spot.

"We got the smoking gun. We got the gun, or one of, but we don't have who pulled the trigger yet," said Bill Deile, Cape Coral City Councilman.

Someone who drives a Cape Coral city car could be in hot water after a device that keeps track of fuel usage by employees, was tampered with, making it so anyone could take gas and the city would never have a record of it.

"The key one was replaced with the toggle switch. The rivets have been drilled out and replaced with screws. The reason the rivets have been drilled out is they wanted access to the inside," said Deile.

Last year, the city hired consultants to find out what happened to the fuel they had no track of between 2006 and 2010. A report revealed 2.3 million gallons of gas simply vanished. A price tag of $12 million paid out. Deile said the bogus fuel recorder could explain some of it, but not all of it.

"People put in fake pin numbers, they put in different rings on the vehicles, fuel was tracked to vehicles that we knew that we didn't have anymore or they were broken," said Deile.

The box that was tampered with was found by a city employee inside a pool car that multiple employees use. Without knowing if any data was recorded by the bogus box, there is no way to tell exactly who could be responsible. Mayor John Sullivan said the punishment will not be light for whoever is responsible.

"Personally I think that anyone who is caught doing this should be fired on the spot. They need to be removed, they need to be taken out of the picture," said Sullivan.

Another problem is that there is no way to tell if the box found Wednesday is the only one. Due to that, the whole system will be replace. The mayor said every department should be put under a microscope.

"Every department in this city audited. One by one. We need to know what is going on," said Sullivan.

The company that designed the fuel recorder will be in Cape Coral on Thursday. They plan to examine the box and hopefully find out things like dates and times and from there learn who might be responsible.