- Thieves are finding creative ways to avoid record gas price hikes.
- Police advise residents to park in a “well-lit and crowded area” to avoid theft.
- Gas stations across the country are reporting thousands of gallons stolen.
The staggering prices prompted a wave of gas thieves for criminal ingenuity in their efforts to avoid the exorbitant cost of the gallon.
Although AAA reported a national average of about $5 a gallon, a downtown Los Angeles gas station earlier this month came in at $8 — nearly two dollars above the state average — for a gallon of regular fuel. According to the New York Post.
The West Coast is driving high gas prices with Washington, Oregon, Arizona, and California averaging more than $5 a gallon, while states like Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana are just below the national average. AAA reports.
This nationwide hike sparked panic, and some found illegal ways to get around the exorbitant price of an entire tank. In Virginia Beach, two men have been charged with grand larceny, conspiracy and possession of burglary tools, who are accused of stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of fuel from a closed local Citgo station this week. CNN reports.
According to the Virginia Beach Police Department, they used “devices” to extract gasoline from pumps – and then sold it at a discount by advertising on social media.
Local news reported that heavily modified trucks have been “used to steal tens of thousands of gallons” from Las Vegas gas stations in recent months. Police suspected motorists who spent more than an hour at the gas pumps – despite only paying $20 – and discovered they were filling hidden tanks.
Californians have been warned that their cars are also potential targets for fuel thieves. The Fontana Police Department (KTLA) said gasoline theft could cause car owners exorbitant damage to their tanks as power tools replace the rubber suction hoses.
In Utah this week, a probationer arrested a man when he caught fire while trying to steal gas from a truck. Newsweek reports. Travis Mills, director of Summit Security and Protection, told a local news station that the company’s trucks had been attacked before.
“It’s sad because times are tough for a lot of people, but it’s not worth the five dollars he would have saved for that guy’s injury,” Mills told the broadcaster.
Although the average cost per gallon in Florida is lower than the national average, Tampa Bay Area police uncovered a gas theft episode in February. According to NBC News, the six men are in custody and accused of stealing at least $60,000 worth of fuel from several gas stations in the area.
A report from AAA in June predicted a prolonged shock to pump prices. “With crude oil prices continuing to fluctuate, the price of a gallon of gasoline is likely to remain high,” she said.
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