Fuel Thefts on the Rise

June 10, 2008 12:52:33 AM PDT
With regular gas well over four dollars a gallon and diesel over five bucks, a full tank is worth a lot of money, and thieves are stealing it right on the street.There was plenty of diesel fuel in Ray Golden's pickup truck last Friday night. But come Saturday morning he says his wife discovered something was wrong. He says, "My wife left for a Four-H event to haul our horses out to and when she got to where she was going, she said, where all of our fuel went."

Golden says the trucks two tanks were each about half full, but believes someone drained them while the truck was parked on the street overnight. He lost about 20 gallons, worth about a hundred dollars.

Clovis Police spokesperson Janet Stoll Lee says police have received a few reports of gas stolen from vehicles.

Concerned drivers are looking for protection. At NAPA auto parts in Clovis, they're selling more locking gas caps, to car owners with the same story. Owner K.C. Carroll has heard the same story from customers over and over again. "They got up in the morning and instead of having what they thought was half a tank, they've got a, you know, their tank's empty in their car."

Carroll says the locking cap is a good investment.

"Because the average price of a gas cap like this is about ten or 12 bucks. So what's that? A couple of gallons of gas."

Ray Golden has since put two locking caps on his truck. He says it's "Sort of like closing the barn door after the horse is gone."

But, they way things are going, the thieves could be back. A tank of gas or diesel is already a hot commodity.

"We may well see more of this as the price continues to go up."

Gas caps are just one solution. Police recommend keeping your vehicle in the garage if possible, or at least in a well lighted area.


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