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Drivers pump and go – without paying – at Dunn station

Posted June 11, 2008

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— A national policy by an oil distributor is prompting a spree of drive-offs from a Dunn gas station.

Like other Murphy stations, Murphy USA on East Jackson Boulevard doesn't have a requirement that drivers pay for their gas – with either cash or by swiping a credit or debit card – before pumping. Police said the policy has prompted two or three drive-offs a day as gas prices have approached $4 a gallon.

"The attendants there at Murphy have so many pumps and so many cars there, many times they just can't watch everything," Dunn Police Chief B.P. Jones said.

Many of the thefts have resulted in losses of $80 to $100, and although most gas thieves are eventually caught, Jones said every gas station should switch to a pre-pay system to reduce the potential for drive-offs.

“It’s just a nuisance type of call,” he said.

Many stations have already made the switch. In Fayetteville, for example, there were 49 gas drive-offs in the first five months of this year, compared with 343 during the same period a year ago.

Gas drive-offs haven't gone up with the prices in Raleigh, where more stations have gone to pre-pay policies, a police spokesman said.

Driving without paying for gas is a misdemeanor in North Carolina, punishable by 120 days in prison for repeat offenders.

Jones said a Wilco Hess station on West Clinton Street in Dunn also has been a frequent target for drive-offs because it doesn't force people to pay before they pump.

"(The attendants) try to make eye contact with the people, speak to them, wave at them," he said.

The company that owns the Hess station couldn't be reached for comment. Murphy Oil wouldn't comment on its national policy against pre-payments.


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  • seenenuf Jun 12, 2008

    Sometime in the '70s, a guy from Delaware filled his tank off I-95 in Dunn and drove off, but not before being shot and killed by the station owner. There was a lot of controversy for and against what the owner did. But back then, gas was less than a dollar a gallon.

  • fkhaywood Jun 12, 2008

    The Dunn Police chief is a 'nuisance' and needs to be fired, if he considers gas drive offs a nuisance. There are illegal activities, deal with it!

  • Dr. Dataclerk Jun 12, 2008

    Simply put, require everyone, no exceptions to pay for their gas first. This will probably stop the stealing. But the clerk should wait until the person who pays for the gas to get back to the pump before turning it on. Someone could steal your gas even though you have paid for it.

  • CestLaVie Jun 12, 2008

    Thank you, gzchem. You hit the nail on the head. I ALWAYS pre-pay with my debit card. What's the big deal here? If you don't have a debit/credit card, you pay cash, inside.

    In this day & age with ethics & morals in the toilet and on the verge of being completely flushed, this is ridiculous. Who's pin-headed memo started this problem instead of solving it?

    "...by saying it is somehow their fault and the victim is the nuisance."

    tinnutt74: IT IS THEIR FAULT. IF THEY'RE VICTIMS, IT IS THEIR OWN FAULT in these particular instances, for NOT taking steps to prevent this from the start. MOST others demand pre-pay; why not them? Somebody's being slack here. It may look like it's the police chief, but he's not the problem.

  • CestLaVie Jun 12, 2008

    "... it doesn't force people to pay before they pump.

    "(The attendants) try to make eye contact with the people, speak to them, wave at them," he said.

    Hey - now that's a TOUGH policy!!!! We'll make eye contact so you won't rip me off!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've heard it all now.

    With ALL the people out there LOOKING for ways to rip others off, when are you going to get it?????????????

    These stations will now probably have to have armed guards by the pumps to prevent more gas stealing, once this hits the news. The flies will come out of the walls now.

    To all of you out there who LOVE ripping off others: There's a Murphys in Clayton too, right in front of Wal-Mart!!!!!!!!!

  • Rhondagurl Jun 12, 2008

    If you do have to pre pay wherever you go..Please remember it is NOT the cashiers fault!!!...So don't come in slammming your card or cash down on the counter,huffing and puffing about it!!...They are only doing their job...Your complaining is not going to change their policy.

  • lizard Jun 12, 2008

    There should be no police response to these type calls. We got more to do than take a report for something that can be stopped from happening by the owner. You'd never let banks give out money with no signature, y gas stations?

  • WHEEL Jun 12, 2008

    Sure do hate that enforcing the law is cutting into Chief Jones other activities like maybe coffee and doughnut time. Next thing he will probably have "drive off" declared a misdomeanor so officers don't have to respond at all.

  • snidelyputz Jun 11, 2008

    OH, the days they had gas attendants. No drive offs there. and they cleaned your windshield.

  • parr4246 Jun 11, 2008

    “It’s just a nuisance type of call,” he said.

    and isn't it his job to catch criminals.............???? he might want to get in another line of work if he doesn't like doing his job........................!!!!!