It's probably  due in part to the sudden rise (again) in fuel prices.

Kennewick police report so far in July,  they've investigated four reports of fuel being stolen from vehicles, from personal and commercial vehicles.

So far this year, 15 incidents have been reported,  but 11 of them have occurred over the last two months.     The biggest single target have been Ben Franklin Transit vans.  They're often left in parking lots used by the Transit system until needed.  Five of the vans have had various amounts of fuel taken.  The van fuel thefts all occurred overnight.

Police did not specify how many gallons were lost in each incident, but urge citizens to be on the lookout, and invest in a locking gas cap or other security system.

According to AAA,  national fuel prices were around $3.66 a gallon two months ago,  and slightly below that in Tri-Cities.   Nationally, the price per gallon inched up to $4.00 this week, while GasBuddy.com reported Wednesday the cheapest price in Kennewick was $3.77 per gallon.

Some officials say the spike in thefts is probably related to the larger-than-expected rise in summer fuel prices.