With the price of gas in California reaching record highs, thieves are increasingly targeting gas tanks with the most recent heist siphoning more than $4,500 from a gas station over a span of three days.
Police in Roseville, Calif., have arrested a man for allegedly stealing more than 1,100 gallons of gas from a Shell station four times in three days starting on Sept. 27. Roseville Police told ABC News that a male suspect is in custody, but they are still looking for a female suspect who they've identified. The truck was located and recovered by police with 110 gallons of gas on board. The gas has since been turned over the the station's manager, Tony Sandhu.
Sandhu told ABC News affiliate KABC-TV Saturday that the thieves rolled up to the station in a pickup truck and managed to bypass the pay-at-the-pump meter on Sept. 27. The thieves pumped 300 gallons of gas into a tank that was located in the back of the truck around 1:30 a.m., according to police. The station was closed at the time and it's not clear how the thieves turned on the pump.
"I don't know if we can recover that money or not, but at least those people should go to jail," said Sandhu.
Police believe thieves came back twice the next day while the station was closed and drove off with hundreds of gallons of gas. Then, they came back the following day during store hours to steal even more. Sandhu told KABC that security cameras caught the thieves siphoning the gas and when they returned during business hours, a cashier recognized the truck and took down the licenses plate.
"It actually brought it to the attention of the owner because he was short on his tallies for his amount of gas," said Lt. Cal Walstad of the Roseville Police Department.
In all, the thieves managed to get away with 1,153 gallons of the liquid gold, according to police.
The price of gas hit an all-time average high in California on Sunday, costing drivers $4.70 a gallon, up 53 cents from last week's average. Recent refinery fires in the state and pipeline problems are the culprits behind the high prices that are causing California reserves to hit a 10-year low.
Earlier this summer, thieves punctured tanks and cut fuel lines in a fleet of rental trucks in southern California. This past spring at another Sacramento gas station, two men were caught on camera prying open an underground tank and funneling thousands of dollars of gas straight into their fake bread truck.
Analysts predict that relief is in sight and prices will bottom out near $3.50 a gallon by Thanksgiving, which is one of the busiest times for traveling.