Last week when I left work and found my gas door open, it confirmed something I’d suspected for the last few months: someone has been stealing my gas.
In midsummer, around the time gas prices neared their peak, I began noticing tiny drops in the gas needle between when I arrived at work and when I left (only some days of the week). But since the measurements are so imprecise and there was never a large amount missing, I thought it must be some kind of paranoia on my part and simply ignored it.
However, finding my gas door open meant that it must have been pried, since we can only open it from inside the car. I turned on the car and saw that the fuel gauge had dipped again. So I talked to our groundskeeper and discovered that several patrons had suspected their gas was taken too. He said that it was probably taken in small quantities because they didn’t want to cause suspicion by lingering too long. Plus, they probably use a small carrier to move faster.
We filled out a formal incident report with the library. I don’t know if it’ll do much but it’ll be reported to the police.
To prevent casual gas theft in the future, I bought a locking gas cap. A really determined person could get past it by either having some kind of master key or by really breaking it.
But given how these thieves have acted, I think they’re about opportunity. They don’t take much at a time, they seem to target cars in the far end of the lot (where I had parked as a courtesy to patrons…I confess I’ve moved closer to the library now), they’re probably going to move on to the next car.
A part of me wanted to say “whatever” since they’re not taking more than $2 at a time and a locking gas cap costs about $15. But a gallon (2 thefts) a week, even now that our gas is under $3, will still add up to more than that over 6 weeks. Since I can’t be sure what they’re taking, it might save money even sooner.
At least I can consider myself fortunate that they never emptied my tank and left me stranded. In fact, the whole thing probably cost something like $30 plus $15 for the gas cap.
Have you had to deal with gas theft? How much was taken and what did you do about it?
Photo courtesy of mandj98.