World of thieves: Electricity not the only consumable stolen

Geoff Williams recently wrote a post about the increase in theft of electricity noted by providers as the economy tightens. Of course, the cost of that stolen electricity will show up in our bills. But electricity is only one consumable that suffers from theft.

In Columbus, Ohio, Columbia Gas recently reported that it has found more than 4,000 cases of natural-gas theft in the past three years, averaging $800 per occurrence. And who can forget the priceless photo in National Geographic of a Chinese boy riding a bicycle, pulling a huge balloon full of natural gas behind?

In 2006, upwards of 200 people burned to death in Nigeria as a product of a dangerous but common practice of drilling into a national gasoline pipeline to obtain fuel. Bunkering, as this type of theft is called, is used to fill tankers and barges with stolen gasoline or oil. Those who died in the blast were burned beyond recognition.