Are rising gas prices driving some people to the brink? Late last week, a station attendant in Alabama was run over and killed while trying to stop a dude from stealing $52 worth of gas. (The driver just turned himself in.) And today, on my new favorite web feature “Gas Gripes,” a woman reports that her credit card was stolen and used to buy not a TV or a diamond ring, but — you guessed it — gas.

I was going to be all delicate and say you couldn’t draw a trend from such isolated events. But behold, the glory of the web. An AP story on MSNBC today bears the headline, “Rising gasoline prices spur thefts, violence.” And if the AP says it, it must be true. (Right, Pat?)

Last year, sneaky drivers made off with an astonishing $237 million in stolen gas, the story says. A spokesman for the National Association of Convenience Stores (whose site offers tips for preventing gas theft) had this to say: “As the price of gas climbs, people’s values decline.”

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