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How did the Joker buy (or steal) and move all the oil drums to the warehouses where he tied up Dent and Rachael without it raising any red flags?

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    he learned it in supervillain school. It's all the lousy villains that get caught gathering the supplies for these elaborate setups
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 23:27
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    Obviously he gave a cover story that he was doing an effects shot for a movie...
    – Cadence
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 10:38

2 Answers 2

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They weren't oil, they were diesel.

Dent’s chair wouldn’t move—stuck on a raised board, probably. Dent shifted all his weight to one side and . . . that was a mistake. He began to topple. It was too late to regain his balance, and he fell into one of the barrels, knocking it over, falling on top of it and slipping to the floor. The concrete was cold against his cheek, then it was cold and wet; the top of the barrel had dropped open, and diesel fuel was spilling out.

The Dark Knight: Official Novelisation

Assuming Gotham City is anything like New York City, those can be easily purchased by contacting a fuel delivery company and giving them money. Note that his goons also managed to load hundreds from the dockside onto the ferries.

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    And one should not underestimate the size of purchases made by legitimate businesses. To go to the extreme, consider modern tanker ships, which can load 2-4 million gallons of fuel at one time!
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented Jul 26, 2020 at 23:49
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    The link I've provided has online ordering for up to 500 barrels before you even need to talk to a person. I'd imagine ordering more than that would require licencing and etc but less than that you can just give them money and they'll deliver directly to your warehouse.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 26, 2020 at 23:54
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    Was it really Diesel? Because that wouldn't make any sense. Diesel doesn't burn like that. It can hit it with a blowtorch, it won't ignite.
    – Opifex
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 7:43
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    @Opifex - Diesel mixed with ammonium nitrate, apparently.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 7:44
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    @Opifex - It still doesn't burn like gasoline, but blame that on the magic of hollywood.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 8:18
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Presumably he used trucks

On a more serious note… (Why so serious?)

Buying them probably would not have raised any flags drums of oil are not really a controlled substance, stealing them may have raised flags but flags ultimately dont matter if no one connects the dots in time.

It is possible that the warehouse was already being used to store the oil and the Joker merely set the bombs

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