New Crime Wave Fueled By High Gas Prices

The suspect nabbed near Seattle was accused of going after liquid assets - stealing 200 gallons of gasoline.

The pickup truck and a man wearing an orange vest had been caught on surveillance video, unlocking the pumps at a closed service station.

From truck stops in Indiana to gas stations in Washington D.C., self service is taking on a new meaning, reports CBS News correspondent John Blackstone.

"In San Jose, we have had about 10 incidents in the last two weeks," said Officer Enrique Garcia of the San Jose Police Department.

Among those hit in San Jose, Calif. were four delivery trucks at the food bank.

"The drivers checked the fuel gauges and they were empty and they had filled them up the night prior," said Chip Huggins of the Second Harvest Food Bank.

The thieves took 400 gallons. The cost of replacing that could have provided more than 3,000 meals for the poor.

If banks get robbed because that's where the money is, with fuel at $4 a gallon, gas tanks are now where the money is. A tank can be just like a safe stuffed with cash - and easier to break into.

There has been a rush to buy locking gas caps but even those may not be enough. Thieves punched right into the tanks of a Calif. dry cleaner's trucks.

"Somebody poked holes in the gas tanks and tried to steal buckets of gas," said Larry Shifman, a dry cleaner owner.

The same thing happened in Salt Lake City at Alpine Medical Supply where they couldn't deliver oxygen for a day after somebody drilled into the tanks.

Thieves are also harvesting fuel from farmers. "One night they stole 800 gallons," said farmer Bill Spellman.

One farmer's surveillance video shows a man with a siphon breaking a lock to get to the tank.

"The people who are buying the gas know it is stolen, but they are not going to say anything because they are getting it because they are getting it for half price," said Deputy Tom Mackenzie of the Merced County Sheriff Department.

Police say gas theft can be as simple as switching the hose when someone leaves the pump running and walks away.

"Somebody will drive up, take the hose out of the vehicle, and they'll put the gas in their car while the pump's running and then they'll put it back in the customer's car and drive off," said Ron Stout, a car theft expert.

A new crime wave is being fueled by high gas prices.