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Police warn of potential increase in gas thefts in western Washington

Gas prices hit an average of $4.79 Wednesday in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area and an average of $4.63 statewide, according to AAA.

EVERETT, Wash. — The Everett Police Department is warning residents of a potential increase in gas thefts.

At least seven gas thefts have been reported in the past six months.

Some gas thieves are using rubber hoses to siphon the fuel out while others are using power tools to drill holes in gas tanks, Everett police said Tuesday.

The Everett Police Department is advising residents to park their vehicles in well-lit areas or in garages to deter thieves.

"We have recently seen some thieves who use a drill to drill through people's gas tanks and siphon off the fuel that way, and historically when gas prices go up, we see more siphoning of gas," said Everett Police Officer Kerby Duncan. 

Duncan said two vans recently had their tanks emptied overnight at a healthcare facility on the 2000 block of Broadway Avenue. Police are aware of seven such thefts in the last six months in Everett. 

"It's not a huge problem yet, but with rising fuel prices, we just want people to be aware of it," Duncan said. 

Gary Wood, a manager at Bucky's Complete Auto Repair in Everett, said catalytic converter replacements remain a persistent problem among customers but he is aware of gas thefts too. Wood said it could cost approximately $2,000 replace a gas tank. 

"Nobody wants to pay two thousand dollars on top of high gas prices. I mean, the thieves think they're getting off because they're saving a few bucks on gas but really they're costing people thousands and thousands of dollars," Wood said.

Other communities in western Washington are also reporting gas theft.

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The Lacey Police Department is asking for the public's help in identifying a suspect connected to siphoning gas out of a vehicle Monday.

The suspect was seen siphoning gas out of a minivan on surveillance video at the Lacey Veterans Service HUB, according to the Lacey Police Department.

Gas prices hit an average of $4.79 Wednesday in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area and an average of $4.63 statewide, according to AAA. Nationally, a gallon of gas costs about $4.25 Wednesday according to data from AAA, the highest it's been since 2014, as the country was pulling out of the 2008 recession. 

RELATED: Gas prices are rising nationwide. Here's how your state stacks up

The surge in price is being spurred on partially by high demand as the country begins to return to normal after the omicron surge of COVID-19, global oil instability thanks to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and renewed worries about domestic production after President Joe Biden announced a total ban on Russian energy imports as punishment for the invasion.

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