Thieves Develop Sophisticated Way To Steal Gas As Prices Soar
PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA - MAY 18: Gas prices over $6.00 per gallon are displayed at a gas station on May 18, 2022 in Petaluma, California. Gas prices in California have surpassed $6.00 per gallon for the first time ever. The average price per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in California is at $6.05 and $6.29 in the San Francisco Bay Area.
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Thieves in Las Vegas, Nevada, found a new way to steal gas as energy costs continue to soar, according to a Wednesday report from Fox 5.

According to AAA, the price at the pump is at a national average of $4.99 as of Friday morning, with a prevailing price of $5.62 in Nevada. Meanwhile, GasBuddy observed national average prices above $5 per gallon on Thursday.

“Unfortunately, with the rise in fuel prices, we have an increase in fuel theft,” Lt. Jeff Swanbeck of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told Fox 5. “Some gas stations have been hit for thousands of gallons and they will continue to go back until the tank is drained. That is thousands of dollars in losses for these gas stations and sometimes it almost gets to the point where it puts them out of business.”

Thieves in Las Vegas have been modifying trucks using intricate internal piping which, in some cases, allows them to steal thousands of gallons — virtually draining gas stations’ tanks. In a secret location, police showed Fox 5 several confiscated pickup trucks and trailers with modified internal piping systems.

“These thieves are very sophisticated,” Swanbeck said. “They will take a truck that looks just like a normal truck, like a freeway service truck, and there is intricate [piping] inside them.”

One makeshift horse trailer was seeking to arbitrage fuel prices by bringing several tanks to neighboring California, where costs are currently above $6.40 per gallon. Police are arresting those stealing the gas, as well as those modifying the vehicles.

“If somebody pays with a $20 gift card and they are out there for an hour and a half pumping gas, that should be suspicious,” Swanbeck added. “If something looks funny or if you see anybody open the side of a gas pump, let the clerk know, let authorities know.”

The Biden Administration — which is dragging its feet on issuing oil and gas permits after nixing expansions to the Keystone XL Pipeline last year — claims that higher fuel prices may help the United States transition more quickly to renewable energy.

“Here’s the situation,” President Joe Biden said last month. “And when it comes to the gas prices, we’re going through an incredible transition that is taking place that, God willing, when it’s over, we’ll be stronger and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels when this is over.”

When Biden assumed office, gas prices were $2.39 per gallon. Last week, that figure doubled to $4.82.

“It’s quite a big deal, because it’s not occurring in isolation,” American Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Desmond Lachman told The Daily Wire this week. “People have been hit by high oil prices, but they’re also being hit by high food prices and the wages are not keeping up with inflation.”

To address high energy prices, Biden has released millions of barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and tried to court leaders of top oil producer Saudi Arabia — a nation with which the United States’ relationship is currently tense.

Beyond individual drivers, the high cost of fuel will impact the rest of the economy as businesses face higher operating expenses.

“It raises their costs, it reduces their profitability — that’s not good coming at a time when the stock market is already on the back foot,” Lachman added. “When you add this all up, this is one of those forces that is adding to inflation and adding to inflationary psychology… you get this really unfortunate combination of inflation staying high and the economy beginning to sputter.”

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