As gas prices reach $4 per gallon reports of gas thefts increase - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

As gas prices reach $4 per gallon reports of gas thefts on the rise

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The pain at the pump continues with gas prices reaching $4 per gallon across the South Plains. Police say some are going to extremes to avoid paying the high price.

The price per gallon in Lubbock is close to the state average of $3.86. Authorities say they've seen a correlation in rising prices and gas thefts.

"As gas becomes a hotter commodity with the rise in prices, it's comparable to when copper becomes very expensive; All of a sudden that's the hot item to be stealing," said Sgt. Jonathan Stewart with Lubbock Police.

There are some things you can do to reduce your risks, Stewart says. "They do make locking gas caps for pretty much any vehicle. I think those normally run between $10 and $20. That would be a good preventative measure for anyone worried about having their gas siphoned."

Car shops in town report seeing an increase in sales of the locks.

A full tank of gas can be worth at least $50, even on a car with a smaller tank. Some people are going to costly extremes to get to your fuel.

"If they're unable to get to the gas tank through gas cap they may penetrate the actual gas tank to have it drain out, or that may be their intention from the beginning," Stewart said.

LPD wasn't able to find any reports, but said the property crimes unit is seeing a higher number of gas theft reports. We also heard from a couple of people who have had their tank ruptured.

Replacing a gas tank can cost several hundred dollars. Depending on the value of gasoline stolen and damage to the vehicle, violators could be charged with a Class A, B, or C misdemeanor.

Police say to be on the lookout and use a garage if you have one. Stewart says gas thefts are more likely to occur when it's dark out.

Neighbors can help by being on the lookout for suspicious activity. If you see anything, call Crime Line at (806)-741-1000.

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