HELENA — Gas prices near record highs are making your car a target for thieves but older cars with easy access to gas caps are not the only victims of gas thefts.
Local law enforcement has received increased calls for gas station drive-offs.
“This increase of thefts has been mainly having been drive-offs from gas stations, gas stations that do not have a prepay and depended on the honesty of citizens are now being hit,” said Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton.
Sheriff Dutton says that pump and run schemes usually leave behind fuel bills between $20 and $40.
“It's an impact to a local businessperson, and right now, with the price of gas, this is going to increase, so you will see gas stations go to prepay,” said Sheriff Dutton.
It can also impact your licenses, if you are caught driving off without paying for fuel your license can be suspended.
According to AAA in Lewis and Clark County, the average price for a gallon of gas is $4.09, and Sheriff Dutton says due to the soaring prices, law enforcement is also seeing a rise in the siphoning of gas.
“Generally, we deal with that every year, and we expect that to increase substantially with the price of diesel and the price of gas,” said Sheriff Dutton.
And if you have any gas tanks hanging around, Sheriff Dutton recommends locking it up, "gas is going to be a hot commodity.
Sheriff Dutton recommends parking in a highly lit area and investing in a locking gas cap from your local dealer and auto shops.