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Man arrested in theft of nearly 1,000 gallons of gas from station

Police in Northern California arrested a man Sunday in connection with the theft of nearly 1,000 gallons of fuel from a gas station.

The arrest comes as California is seeing rising gas prices. Early Monday, gas prices hit a record average of $4.67 for a gallon of regular in California.

Police in Roseville said Monday that officers had arrested Edward Anthony Valila at his home in Elk Grove. He faces charges of grand theft.

Why are gas prices so high?

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 about 300 gallons of gas, some of it going to a tank in the pickup's bed.

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

The same people came back during store hours two other times, he said, taking 350 gallons on each occasion. Each time there was no indication that gas was being pumped.

The last time Sandhu's wife was ready for them despite an attempt by a woman in the truck to distract her. She got a license plate number.

On Sunday, Gov. Jerry Brown took "emergency steps" to try to bring down record gas prices in the state.

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 could 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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