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As gas prices top $4, Sonoma County fuel thefts grow

Kirk Lokka bets he has spent nearly $7,000 repairing fences, buying better locks and replacing gasoline siphoned out of trucks by fuel thieves who have been sneaking onto his vineyard outside Sebastopol.

So Lokka, general manager of Emeritus Vineyards, was already fed up when he found the heavy-duty chain-link fence guarding his trucks had once again been cut this month.

"I can't even leave gas in the trucks anymore," Lokka said.

As gasoline prices soar toward $4 a gallon, fuel theft rises as well, authorities said.

Many cases involve thieves outwitting gas station pumps. Some Santa Rosa and Windsor residents are finding gasoline has been drained from the tanks of their cars parked on the street or even in driveways.

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