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'Sign of the Times': Police Warn Drivers to Protect Vehicles From Gas Thieves as Prices Soar

Image Source: Unsplash/Dawn McDonald
Image Source: Unsplash/Dawn McDonald

With the average price of fuel well over $4.00 per gallon, Americans are now having to guard the gasoline in their vehicles as the threat of gas thieves is on the rise. 

A gallon of regular gas has risen to $4.33, up from $4.07 just one week ago, according to AAA. Monday marks the 19th day since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale war against Ukraine and experts predict the cost of fuel will continue to climb.

The rising gas prices have fueled anxiety among Americans, and now there's a new reason to be concerned - gasoline thefts from coast to coast. 

One Virginia man noticed Friday that the gas tank in his Suburban was empty, even though he had just filled it up the day before.

Rajesh Sriraman of Virginia Beach told WVEC News he was "shocked" by the discovery and suspects that a thief siphoned the gas out of his tank.

"It shouldn't have gone from a full tank to an empty tank in one night," Sriraman said. 

Police in Renton, Washington advised residents of different ways to deter gas thieves in a Facebook post.

Suggestions included parking in a well-lit area and purchasing a quality gas cap that locks.

Washington's Everett Police Department posted images of how some fuel thefts are occurring as thieves have resorted to drilling holes in drivers' gas tanks. 

The Atlanta Police Department detained a man earlier this month for "puncturing gas tanks and stealing gasoline."

"The suspect involved appeared to have used a tool to drill a hole into the gas tanks of the victims' vehicles resulting in hundreds or thousands of dollars of extra costs to the victim for gas tank repairs," the department said in a press release.

AAA's Doug Shupe told KTTV News in Los Angeles that "This is a sign of the times."

He added, "It's thieves looking for ways that they can make money by stealing what is becoming an increasingly more expensive and valuable commodity, gasoline."

Shupe pointed out that it's a high cost to repair a vehicle after a thief drills a hole in the gas tank.

"Oftentimes vehicle owners who find themselves, victims of this type of gasoline theft, they have to replace the entire gas tank, he said. "So it is a costly repair and replacement that needs to be made."

With prices at the pump steadily rising, drivers are encouraged to follow a few tips that could keep their fuel tank full a little longer. 

Money expert Dave Ramsey recently shared some suggestions on Twitter, such as carpooling, combining errands, and using cruise control on the highway.

Click HERE to see more fuel-saving tips from AAA while on the road.

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