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Fuel Thefts On The Rise In Haverhill

HAVERHILL (CBS) - Gas prices are on the rise again. The price of a gallon of regular jumped last week across the state and now averages $3.61 a gallon, nineteen cents more than a month ago. But this is not the end of it; the prices are predicted to climb up to $5 this year.

That upward trend seems to be leading to thefts in at least one local town. Police in Haverhill have received a number a calls of thieves siphoning gasoline from parked cars and trucks.

WBZ-TV's Diana Perez reports

Maria Navarro is one of those victims. Her little green Daewoo is her lifeline. She's recovering from a second full knee replacement, is not currently working and depends on disability checks to get by.

Speaking in Spanish she says, "They took off the cover to the gas tank and when I wanted to turn the car on the entire tank was without any gasoline."

Someone ripped off her cover and siphoned out three quarters of a tank of gas. Maria says perhaps the most disturbing part of the crime, is that from all the cars on her block, the criminal targeted hers and completely ignored the handicap placard that hangs from her rear view mirror.

"I felt so bad because to fix this you need money," she says. "Can you tell me who has extra money on a moment's notice?"

Maria replaced her old gas cap with one that requires a key but she's not the only one hit by a tank thief. Haverhill police say gas was also siphoned from work trucks at both Fresh Valley Foods Corporation and Air Filter Sales.

Maria wants the bad guys caught for sure, but more importantly she wants them to understand one thing before they strike again. "We're all in the same condition," she says. "We're all living with the same problems of the rising gasoline prices."

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