No, I'm not going to talk about the big oil companies that everyone likes to demonize. I'm talking about petty criminals. It seems that stealing gas from people's cars isn't just limited to siphoning anymore. The more creative thieves are drilling holes into gas tanks to get at their loot.

Ever safety conscious in their quest for stolen gas, the thieves are more prone to drill plastic tanks, which are less likely to create a dangerous spark. And they're also easier to drill into. Pickup trucks and SUVs are more likely to be targeted too, as their height makes the theft easier to accomplish.

If this happens to you, it's going to be expensive. The criminals aren't just going to make off with your precious gas. You'll need a new gas tank which averages $300 to $500. And God forbid that you have a business with a bunch of vehicles lined up (think car rental company). Criminals may just move on down the line, victimizing all your vehicles. That's going to be awfully expensive.

Crooks are even stealing cooking oil to turn into biofuel. What is our world coming to? Yes, budgets are tight and some people have been put in a difficult financial position because of the high cost of gas. But does that make it right to steal gas from someone else's car? They haven't caused you to pay more for gas, so don't try to justify stealing from them. And certainly don't do it in this moronic way which creates an expensive repair to boot.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.



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