With rising gas prices come more reports of drivers filling up and taking off without paying, but one driver may have more than just a theft on his conscience.

Police in Mississauga, Ont., say a gas station attendant has died of injuries suffered last week when he tried to stop a man from leaving without paying - a growing crime known as a "gas-and-dash."

Hashem Atifeh Rad, 62, of Mississauga, was working at a Petro-Canada station in the city west of Toronto on May 19 when a driver began filling up.

Police say the driver was seen stopping just before the gas station and covering up his licence plates.

It's alleged he made off with about $75 worth of gas while the attendant, who tried to confront him, was struck by the car and dragged into the street.

Rad was found critically injured and died in hospital the next day, said Peel regional police. They are urging the driver to turn himself in.

He is described as a black man believed to be 20-30 years of age and was driving a gold-coloured, four-door sedan. The car reportedly fled the scene and was seen heading east on the Queen Elizabeth Way.

The incident took place as unsteady gas prices continue to make news across Canada and many motorists complain they are finding it increasingly difficult to afford a fill-up.

The website GasBuddy.com reports prices ranging from $1.25 to $1.30 a litre in the Mississauga area. Earlier this month, prices as high as $1.40 could be seen on pumps around the Greater Toronto Area and elsewhere.

Reports of pump-and-run thefts have become more common and police warn gas station workers to take down licence plates and report offenders. But operators say some thieves use stolen plates or swipe invalid cards before fleeing.

Those caught stealing gas can be charged with theft under $5,000.

Still, there have been many other incidents of fuel being stolen as the rising price of oil - which now sits around US$100 a barrel - has led to higher pump prices.

Hundreds of dollars of diesel has been siphoned from trucks at a firm in Kamloops, B.C., and operators say other truckers may be the culprits.

Two young men were arrested earlier this month in connection with a series of gas thefts in the Halifax area. Police said the gas was taken after holes were drilled in fuel tanks.

Some have suggested gas stations adopt a "pay-first" policy at the pumps but Ontario's community safety minister played down the idea Thursday.

"That's not a question for us at this time," Jim Bradley said.

Other provinces are considering it, however. British Columbia instituted a pay-first policy back in 2008 and named it Grant's Law after Grant DePatie, a man who was dragged to death while trying to stop a $12 gas-and-dash.

Prepayment is also common at many gas stations in the United States.

Suncor Energy, the parent company of Petro-Canada, expressed condolences to Rad's family, friends and co-workers in a statement Thursday.

"This situation has been upsetting for everyone in our retail network and in those areas of our business that support our retail operations," spokesman Boris Jackman said in the statement.

"Safety is a core value in every part of Suncor's business and whenever someone is injured while visiting or working at one of our sites we take it very seriously."