KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Gas prices are slowly falling, but still high. Because of that, the Kissimmee Police Dept. says vehicle owners need to beware gas thieves.
Police officers say gas thieves are also getting more destructive.
“What’s going on lately (is) they’re prying underneath the gas tanks and actually making holes in the gas tank,” said Sgt. Moises Perez with the Kissimmee Police property crimes unit. “Which they’re taking the gas from there and they don’t leave a drop or an ounce of gas.”
This is costly because now the vehicle owner has to replace the gas tank, which can cost between $200 and $1,000 to fix, depending on make and model of the vehicle.
“We’ve had incidents where victims have been seen going to the gas station and they have gas coming out of the gas tank, and right then and there they know they’re a victim of gas theft,” Perez said.
The gas can then be sold on the black market.
The Kissimmee Police Dept. is warning folks to protect their vehicles if they are going on a trip and leaving the vehicle behind.
“Make sure you park it indoors, somewhere lit with a lot of light, maybe even some video surveillance cameras,” Perez said.
Perez also suggests that if you do have to park outdoors, park the vehicle with the gas tank facing the street. There’s more light there and it’s harder to target. He also suggested that, if you’re going to the airport, get dropped off rather than leaving the vehicle behind.
You can also invest in gas locks, which can be purchased at auto parts stores.
Gas thieves who are caught face three to five years in prison if convicted.
If you see someone around your car or a neighbor’s car, Kissimmee police ask that you call 911.
After weeks of skyrocketing prices amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, gas prices finally began to trickle back down this week. The average price for regular unleaded gas in Florida right now is $4.23 a gallon, from a high of $4.37 a gallon a week ago, according to AAA.