As gas prices rise, more thieves target local cars

SEATTLE - The high cost of gas is coming at a high price for some Magnolia residents.

Last week, Theresa Benny, who works from her home was headed to a midday appointment when she got that sinking feeling.

"The flap was open and the cap was on the ground," Benny says.

Her truck was parked on a well lit street in front of her home, in the middle of an diligent block watch neighborhood.

In the last two weeks, four other Magnolia residents have made the same discovery - their gas tanks drained - siphoned by thieves.

"What's a tank of gas these days , $50 or $60 or $75 bucks depending on your brand? Add your level of octane," says Benny.

The bad guys left in a hurry, and drained her full tank to a quarter tank, a $40 loss.

She thought it was kids stealing for the thrill of it until she heard other neighbors along 33rd Avenue West and 31st were hit too. Benny says one of those neighbors had a locked gas cap.

"It was about a $350 fix cause they had actually snipped the fuel line," Benny says.

One block from her home sits a gas station selling regular unleaded at one the city's highest prices, $4.15 a gallon.

Seattle Police say they haven't seen a spike in siphoning cases, but AAA says drivers are experiencing sticker shock and to brace for further increases.

Benny adds, "I don't want it to happen to anyone else. If it is happening enough, and causing awareness and word getting out in the community, I'd like to share and say 'Hey, yeah, it is really happening.'"