Gas prices up, gas theft up

April 28, 2008 2:24:35 PM PDT
Across the country, gas thefts are up, whether it's armed robberies or people just not paying after pumping.Whoever broke into the building 104 laundry room at Wilmington's Dorjul Apartments last week, cut and removed a water hose.

It caused flooding in four basement apartments. After four inches of water was pumped out of her unit, Nikki Pitts spent the weekend drying and salvaging things from boxes she'd packed to move.

"We had water everywhere. The computer did get wet. I just didn't take it out to the garbage yet; I'm sure it's not working anymore. Water poured out of it," Nikki Pitts said.

It seems the culprits' intent during this 1:00 a.m. crime was not vandalism, but rather theft.

The hose was cut away from a washing machine and used to siphon gas from the tanks of cars parked outside.

"There was like 10 to 15 cars they siphoned gas from. They even broke into one," Janet Robinson, Dorjul Apartments manager, said.

Investigators aren't sure how much gas was siphoned out of the cars in this lot or what the gas was put into. This is making many wonder if this is the kind of thing people can expect to see more of as gas prices continue to rise.

Nationally, there are increased reports of people driving away from gas stations without paying for what they've pumped. Siphoning gas is the subject matter of videos on an Internet website.

Perhaps locking gas caps, popular during the energy crisis of the 70's will rise in popularity again. The Dorjul Apartments is installing braided steel water hoses to protect residents from those who would steal gas that people worked hard to buy.

There are no suspects yet.