HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii residents have felt pain at the pump with gas prices rising but now thieves are draining victims’ gas right from their vehicles.
It was a normal morning for Ewa Beach resident Ken Cabal as he walked to his car parked on the street.
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He was getting ready to drive to work before he noticed something strange.
“I could hear something dripping and I was like what’s that noise, so I go under the car and it was the gasoline,” said Cabal.
Cabal realized his vehicle was targeted by thieves.
“At first I was shocked because I thought they drilled a hole but I saw the drain plug on the ground,” explained Cabal.
Unfortunately, Cabal is not the only victim.
According to the Honolulu Police Department, there have been 50 gas thefts reported from January to April this year. From 2019 to 2021 there were about 120 a year.
Police said that thieves are draining tanks by siphoning the gas, drilling the tank itself or cutting the fuel line under the vehicle.
And it’s not just Oahu, Big Island police said they’ve had several gas thefts in recent weeks in Hilo and from Puna to South Kohala.
Most of what we’ve seen are crimes of opportunity, ease of access, so vehicles without any locking feature, so if the vehicle has a fuel door that’s not secured or doesn’t have a locking cap or doesn’t have a siphoning prevention device within the fuel tank itself.”Christopher Fukumoto, Hawaii Police Department
Police said taking a few extra steps and making some inexpensive investments can help protect your car.
“Purchase commercially available locking gas caps or fuel doors for your vehicle,” said Fukumoto. “If you have to utilize street parking, try to park with your gas cap facing the street. So if anyone were to try siphon the gas, they’d be exposed to passing traffic.”
As for Cabal, he’s more aware and hopes the public will pay more attention too.
“I’ve been only putting like $10 — $15 every time now just trying to keep it low, because you never know they’re probably looking inside looking at your gauge,” said Cabal.
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Police said if you become a victim of gas theft, call their non-emergency line then call your mechanic.