Reports of gas thieves have been cropping up all across the country and as gas prices continue to soar, experts are urging folks to take caution.
The average gas price in the United States currently sits at $4.35 per gallon, which is higher than the record set last week after President Biden announced the U.S. would no longer import Russian.
There have been reports of gas theft all over the country, with people in Los Angeles siphoning gas directly from car gas tanks, per local outlet KCAL.
“There have been reports of people siphoning gas directly out of the tanks putting a hose down into the gas tank, sucking out,” said gas station technician Emery Shen. “We are also hearing reports of people drilling right in the gas tanks, taking gas out of cars directly.”
Earlier this month, police in Atlanta launched an investigation after car owners in the city found holes drilled in their tanks.
Per WSILTV, Washington state police said that they have already started to warn drivers to purchase lockable gas caps and to park in a well-lit area. “We often discover these thefts later when the owner goes to the gas station to fill up and finds all the fuel dumping out under the vehicle from the cut filler line,” said Hoquiam Chief of Police Jeff Meyers. The Renton Police Department, also in Washington state, has told drivers to avoid parking anywhere in public for “extended periods of time.”
“We understand a motivated thief may not be deterred from stealing, no matter how hard we try to protect our items of value,” reads a statement from the department. “But the goal is to introduce deterrents that will make them uncomfortable, or present inconveniences that will encourage them to leave the area.”
As WEAU reported, a used car dealership owner in Wisconsin said they noticed a hole drilled in a car’s gas tank after it was brought in. “As soon as we pulled in, everybody noticed they could smell gas and then they followed the quarter gas trail running in from the outside and then put the vehicle up on the hoist, and that’s when we noticed somebody had drilled a hole into the fuel tank that evening prior in order to steal the gasoline from it,” said Mike Gross of Gross Auto Group Mechanics. In total, the thief stole around $20 in gas, but caused $1,500 in damage to the vehicle.
The Biden administration announced the ban on Russian oil last week, as the country continues to wage war in Ukraine. “Today I’m announcing the United States is targeting the main artery of Russia’s economy,” Biden said on Tuesday. “We’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy. … The American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine.”
If you have an older car you might want to look into purchasing locking gas caps.