With gas prices over the six-dollar mark in some places across the Central Coast, fuel is becoming the next target for thieves.
Gas siphoning is an issue seen across the state. San Luis Obispo police say the high cost makes it an incentive for people to commit this crime.
“We have seen some gas thefts occurring in our city. It’s been fairly steady over the last few years, but obviously, with the rise in gas prices it’s something our officers are proactively out looking for," said Capt. Brian Amoroso, San Luis Obispo Police Department.
SLOPD says there have been a total of seven gas thefts reported this year with at least one theft happening each month so far.
Officers say the most common way of gas siphoning is using a hose to take out the fuel, but another tactic being used by thieves is drilling holes into gas tanks.
“If somebody came in with a hole drilled into their gas tank for the purpose of stealing their fuel, that can be a pretty expensive repair... maybe a few hundred dollars. Others are harder to reach and have more complicated systems and they can be in the thousands to replace," said Isaac Feldman, president of Certified Auto Repair in San Luis Obispo.
SLO police say it may be hard to tell if you have been the victim of gas theft, but some key evidence may be leakage around your car or the smell of fuel.
“Always, certainly, keeping an eye on the level of your fuel tank when you park and when you get in, if you see it’s significantly different, then you’ve been a victim of this crime," Capt. Amoroso said.
Other precautions include parking your car in well-lit areas or in a garage and using a locking gas cap.
The San Luis Obispo Police Department urges anyone who may see an active siphoning scene to not approach the person. Instead, do your best to get descriptions of the suspect or the vehicle they are traveling in and call police right away.