Gas theft rises along with gas prices

FRESNO, Calif.

Soaring gas prices aren't the only thing that could be on the rise. "We came out to get ready to take my kids to school and my gas cap was open and my lid was off," said Terri Baird. Just last week, Baird woke up to find her SUV's gas tank door open outside her West Central Fresno home. On closer inspection, she noticed her tank was running low on fuel.

"For about two weeks, it seemed like I was buying more gas more frequently and that I was using it a lot more and so I assumed somebody was syphoning it," said Baird. Thieves syphoned gas from her SUV and she wasn't the only one hit. Her neighbor across the street also found her gas cap off. "It cost a lot of money for me to fill up my gas. I work hard for my money and it'd be nice if I could use my gas instead of somebody else taking it," said Baird.

Baird purchased a locking gas cap to prevent it from happening again. It was a $15 investment she hopes will protect the roughly $80 she now spends to fill up her tank each time.

According to AAA, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Fresno is $3.98, that's up 17 cents from last week.

"I think it's for your own piece of mind. Somebody's buying it thinking if they want in there, they're going to get in there. But you see a locking gas cap, a thief would maybe go to the next car," said Toni Dellamaggiore, manager of D&R Automotive in Downtown Fresno.

And while there is some concern gas theft will increase, others don't seem to be too worried. "I don't worry about them syphoning my gas out, I just hope they don't take the truck. If they take the gas, it's better than taking the whole truck," said Leonard Allen of Fresno.

We checked with the Fresno and Clovis Police Departments and they say they have not seen a spike in gas theft at this time but they do caution people to pay close attention and report this type of crime if it happens in their neighborhood.

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