Gas theft on the rise as gas prices skyrocket

While gas prices continue to hit record highs, some people in Southern California are now resorting to gasoline theft.

A FOX 11 viewer shared photos of what happened to a vehicle — a thief drilled a hole in the fuel tank, draining all the gas. AAA is seeing a rise in gas siphoning and theft across the country, and now they're warning car owners about how to keep their vehicles safe. 


"This is a sign of the times you know," AAA's Doug Shupe said. "It's thieves looking for ways that they can make money by stealing what is becoming an increasingly more expensive and valuable commodity, gasoline."

Mona Garcia says she's fed up with the prices. "[It] used to be $60, then it went to $70, I think two weeks ago it was $90," she said. 
"So I'm thinking this might hit $100," she said while filling up her car Monday night. As she feared, she spent $100 to fill her tank. Garcia says her camera and the floodlight in her driveway deter any would-be thieves from taking that gas from her tank.

And it's not just the cost of the gas that's high, but if thieves do drill into your gas tank, the repairs can top $1,000. 

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

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AAA recommends three ways you can keep thieves from targeting your gas tank:

  • Park in the garage at your home if you have one.
  • If you don't have a garage, or when out in public, park in a well-lit area with high traffic. If possible, park in a secure location like a fenced-in lot or parking garage.
  • When parking in a garage, find a spot near the exit or elevator as those have the most visibility and foot traffic.

If you think your gas tank may have been tampered with, AAA says you can look for telltale signs, like the smell of gasoline, a puddle under your vehicle, or a lit check engine light. If you do have your gas stolen, AAA recommends filing a police report and contact your insurance agent to see if the repairs are covered.

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