July 8, 2022—Thieves have begun punching holes in the fuel tanks of vehicles to steal gasoline.
According to Bakersfield.com, the police department of Bakersfield, California, has seen a 187 percent year-over-year increase in gasoline thefts from January to June 2022 of 43 reported incidents across the city.
Automotive shops in the area are seeing the impact firsthand.
Rob Northam, who is a co-owner of Eye Street Automotive, said that the shop has worked on six punctured fuel tanks over the last three weeks, and he anticipates that it will only get worse.
"It's a nightmare," Northam said in the article.
Local mechanics also shared in the article that, while sometimes the tanks can be successfully repaired, replacing the tank entirely is costing customers anywhere from $200 to $800.
To add insult to injury, there are certain situations where replacement gas tanks for vehicle models are not even available anymore.
Bakersfield experienced 38 reported gas tank related thefts last year, and with the numbers so far this year already at 43, shops would be wise to keep an eye out for customers seeking repairs in such a circumstance.