WICHITA, Kan. -- A sudden rise in propane prices could lead to a slight increase in the theft of propane, but a marketer does not expect theft of the heating gas to be a widespread problem.
Thieves stole a dozen propane canisters Friday from a tank exchange in front of Phamily Express, a gas station and convenience store near Pawnee and Washington. The owner said he is out about $600.
"Because this one is a small business, every penny still helps me," said Anh Pham.
Pham said the theft of the propane canisters won't devastate his business, but it will hurt.
"I mean, it's not a lot, but it still costs my money for that thing," he said.
A supply shortage has propane prices setting records across the country. Some Midwest prices have approached $5 per gallon.
Mike Tanner, general manager of Wayman Oil Company in Mulvane does not thing there will be a market for stolen propane. He believes once thieves figure out they cannot easily sell stolen cylinders for any more than they are worth at convenience stores, they will give up.
Pham said the thieves who hit his business need to give up crime and get a job.
"I know it's not easy to get a job right now, but to me, just find a job," he said. "Don't steal something from people."