SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — With a gallon of unleaded gas pushing six dollars in some county areas, experts are warning that gas thefts could be on the rise.
Terrance Johnson spent $90 filling up his gas tank Monday afternoon. He expressed that's about $40 more than he would've before prices skyrocketed.
The Auto Club of Southern California is now warning drivers that thieves could use this trend as a crime of opportunity.
"There are always going to be those criminals who are looking to take advantage of the situation and steal something that is of a high commodity, a high priced valued item right now," said Doug Shupe, Auto Club of Southern California.
Johnson said he's already prepared if thieves target him.
"It's very upsetting that in a time like this that people have to resort to these types of things," said Johnson. "My car, it has a lock on it. I advise people to go out and got to auto zone or places like that and find a locking mechanism for your gas cap."
The auto club advises drivers to be proactive.
Shupe said a sign you might be a victim is if you smell gas as you approach your car or see a puddle nearby the gas tank.
"Thieves don't want to be caught doing this so if you could park near surveillance cameras or park where there is going to be a lot more foot traffic. They'll be more likely to leave your vehicle alone and go on to the next one," he said.
He added the damage left behind by gas thieves could cost about a thousand dollars to patch up.