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California police on hunt for gas thieves as prices skyrocket

With gas prices hitting new records in California, police are dealing with thieves who steal fuel from gas stations and other facilities.

On Sunday, gas prices hit a record average of $4.655 for a gallon of regular in California.

Last month, police in the Antelope Valley were looking for thieves who stole gas from car and truck rental agencies.

Why are gas prices so high?

Now, police in Roseville are looking for gasoline thieves who struck two stations, taking nearly 1,000 gallons of the increasingly expensive fuel.

Gas was stolen last week from a Shell station near the Roseville Square shopping center. And a few days earlier, thieves had made an unsuccessful attempt at a 76 station a few blocks away, Fox40 in Sacramento reported.

According to the manager of the Shell station, a man in a black pickup pumped 300 gallons of gas, some of it going to a tank in the pickup's bed. It happened around 1:30 a.m., when the convenience store was closed.

But security cameras caught the thief using a credit card. The pump's meter was somehow disabled, and the manager had to check records to show that the gas was taken.

The same people came back during store hours twice, taking 350 gallons on both occasions. Each time there was no indication behind the counter that gas was being pumped.

He directed the California Air Resources Board to increase the fuel supply by allowing the immediate sale and import of cheaper and more available winter-blend gasoline.

The move would reduce the price of gas in California by 15 to 20 cents per gallon, probably within a few days, said energy expert Chris Faulkner of Dallas-based Breitling Oil and Gas.


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--From a Times staff writer

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