As energy prices rise, the Melrose Police Department would like to make residents aware of steps they can take to prevent thefts of gasoline from their cars.

Thieves may siphon gas, or damage the tank and leave the owner with a large repair bill. Melrose Police have received no such reports, but wish to make the public aware of an increase in thefts nationally.

The Department offers the following safety tips from the American Automobile Association.

When you are home

  • Lock your car doors; this will lock the fuel door
  • Consider installing a locking gas cap
  • Do not leave your vehicle running and unattended
  • Park in a garage or driveway, if possible
  • Position your car so that the fuel door faces the road, if possible

When you are out in public

  • Park in well-lit areas
  • If you park in a public garage, park near an exit or elevator where foot traffic is high
  • Do not park in public lots for extended periods, especially if lots are not attended. For example, if you are flying, have a family member or friend take you to the airport, or use a shuttle service.

Signs you may be a victim

  • You smell gas as you approach your vehicle
  • You see a puddle near the fuel tank
  • You notice scratch marks near the fuel tank door
  • Your car does not start
  • Your car starts, but the gauge shows low fuel
  • The “check engine” light is on

The Department asks residents to be aware of their surroundings, and to call 9-1-1 if they see suspicious behavior in their neighborhood, such as someone they do not know acting strangely around parked cars.

Tom Zuppa is a JGPR Account Executive based in North Andover. He can be reached at 978-769-5614 or tom@jgpr.com

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