Gas theft concerns rise as prices increase

Drivers are feeling the pain of paying even more to fill up their tanks and, as prices rise, so do concerns over gas theft.

U-Haul says $3,000 worth of gas was stolen from its fleet in just a couple of days.

“Anytime gas prices go up, we start looking more carefully, particularly during the evenings on our facility,” said U-Haul marketing president William Hardy.

That means keeping a closer eye on the equipment in addition to the surveillance cameras Hardy installed and security measures he took with moving trucks.

“We’ve put some guards on them, particularly where the fuel lines are so it makes it more difficult to get to,” he said.

Experts like George Nitta say it’s not just about cutting fuel lines and siphoning gas.

“What they do is weld on a spike to (a bottle jack), and put it under your gas tank and jack it up,” Nitta said.

Nitta says they often look for high-end cars that may be filled with better quality fuel, as well as larger vehicles.

Nitta says if you drive a larger vehicle, keep your gas tank only halfway full. That way, if thieves try to rip you off, your loss won’t be as great.

Here are some other tips from the experts:

  • Park in well-lit, secure areas.
  • If you park your vehicle on the street, face your fuel tank out, toward the street and don’t keep it hidden.
  • Install cameras in your parking lot.
  • Check on your property every once in a while to show a visible presence.

Some of these tips have helped Hardy, who believes this is the time when thieves will strike.

“They look at it as something they can make money off of,” he said. “If the prices go up, they can make more, so they’re going to be more aggressive to attack the vehicle to take the fuel.”

Experts say if you smell or see gas dripping from your vehicle, that’s one indication that a thief might have stolen gas from you, so take your car into a shop immediately since a drilled hole in a gas tank can cause an explosion.

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