Authorities in Indiana are warning that the increasing cost of gasoline may cause a spike in a particular crime: gas theft. Indiana State Police asked gas station owners and consumers to be alert for fuel thefts in urban areas and along interstates, reports the Indianapolis Star. Stealing fuel is a felony punishable by a maximum $10,000 fine and up to three years in jail, plus a 30-day suspension of the guilty party’s driver’s license, a police spokesman said.
In 2006, $122 million of fuel was stolen from U.S. pumps, the police said. Indianapolis gasoline prices again hit a record level Saturday, repeating a trend in place for the past few weeks. The average cost of a gallon of unleaded regular was $3.818, according to the AAA. That’s more than a penny over Friday’s record, a dime over Thursday’s. Diesel fuel also hit a record Saturday, averaging $4.286 per gallon in the Indianapolis area, the AAA reported.