Gas Theft on Rise as Pump Prices Climb

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As the price of gasoline continues to climb, thieves are on the hunt.  Crooks aren't just driving off without paying for gas -- they're targeting individual cars and even businesses.

"You're seeing customers just fed up with seeing price increases day after day after day," said Jeff Lenard, spokesman for National Association of Convenience Stores. "They don't know who to take it out on, so they take it out on the guy who sells them gas."

Most gas thefts take place when a driver fills up at the pump and then speeds away without paying.  Other thefts occur when thieves siphon gas from the tanks of cars parked in driveways and parking lots.  Some enterprising thieves have even gone so far as to post how-to videos on YouTube.

In 2009, gas theft cost the convenience store industry more than $89 million.

Businesses are also being targeted for the gasoline in company vehicles.

In Hickory, N.C., thieves stole thousands of dollars of fuel from trucks at a rental facility. They crawled under the trucks and cut the fuel lines in order to drain the gasoline.

"It kind of hurts when you got reservations for trucks and you haven't got the trucks to send out," Budget Truck Rental's John Howland said.

"It's not mystery.  It's like copper theft and other precious metals," explained Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.  "It's becoming more appealing for criminals to siphon gasoline and diesel."

*Originally aired on April 21, 2011.

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Charlene  Aaron

Charlene Aaron

CBN News Reporter

Charlene Aaron serves as a general assignment reporter and helps anchor for the CBN News Channel.  Follow her on Twitter @CharNews and "like" her at Facebook.com/CharleneIsraelCBNNews.