As gas prices are on the rise in the United States, so is gas theft.
Across the United States, thieves have not only been targetting cars to siphon gas, but they are also targetting gas stations.
With the increase in gas prices, thieves have found a new way to make some income - they are selling gas that they've either stolen from cars or gas stations. Thieves have become very sophisticated when it comes to stealing gas.
Gas thieves are becoming more and more sly when it comes to siphoning gas. This is not only an issue in Los Angeles but across the United States.
In Houston, Texas, gas station owner Jerry Thayil says that thieves targetted his gas station and stole over 1,000 gallons of gas. In one instance, thieves parked a minivan over the underground gas tank, used a trap door under the van, and stole 1,000 gallons of gas. These thieves have hit this gas station in Houston multiple times.
Thayil told NewsNation:
“With this trap door, they would get into the right position, go over the fuel cap, break the lock, and insert their hose and start pumping out fuel,”
Thayil continued by saying that this method did not surprise investigators because this is more common than it seems. He said:
“After talking to investigators, they were telling me this is more common than it seems,” Thayil said. “That they have this trap door, so that it’s kind of inconspicuous.”
In Los Angeles, ABC 7 Eyewitness News captured video of gas thieves getting caught trying to steal gas from a gas station in Long Beach. The police took one person into custody and others got away. It was said that these thieves paid $20, but were able to damage the pump to siphon gallons of gas.
Thieves are becoming more and more clever with how they are stealing gas. Some use a plastic hose to drain an unsuspecting driver's gas tank while some use power tools to get into the gas tank and drain it.
The Everett Police Department in Washington took to Facebook to warn drivers of new approaches to gas theft.
Police around the United States are urging drivers to beware of gas thieves!
Doug Shupe of the Auto Club of Southern California discussed the rising gas thefts. He said:
"Always concerned about any type of automotive crimes that could be happening to consumers," ... "People pay a lot of money for their vehicles to keep them maintained."
Shupe continued by saying:
"They're paying a lot of money for gasoline so we don't want drivers to have to experience not only the loss of a full tank of gas, which comes at a high dollar amount these days, but also have to deal with cost of replacing that fuel tank,"
Shupe is reiterating the fact that this spike in gas theft, can be very costly to drivers. Replacing a fuel tank can cost up to $1,000.
Here is what you can do to protect yourself from gas thieves.
- If you are able to park inside a garage, authorities say it would be a smart move. Thieves are also targeting cars late at night while parked in an unguarded driveway.
- Lock your car!!!! In some modern cars, if you lock your car, the gas tank door also locks. If you have this modern technology make sure you lock your car when you get out of it.
- If you are parking on a public street, try and park in a way where your gas tank is facing the street. If a thief tries to approach, they will most likely be seen by drivers driving past your car.
- If you cannot lock your gas tank/gas cap, you could buy a lock on Amazon!! This would be a smart investment, these days.
"If you do have a vehicle in a driveway, park it in a garage if you have one. If you're parking in public, look for fenced in areas. Maybe something with a surveillance camera so people can't get into that secured parking area,"
Doug Shupe of the Auto Club of Southern California reiterated.
Here are some signs your gas may have been siphoned:
- You smell gas near your car.
- Gas puddle underneath your car.
- Fuel levels are noticeably low.
- The vehicle begins to fail.
If you have been the target of gas theft, it's important to gather as much information as possible and alert authorities.
Stay safe out there!