Gas Stations Take Action Against Fuel Thieves
Posted March 9, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST
RALEIGH — Higher gas prices may be tough to pay, but some drivers are finding a way to work around it. They are stealing gas, and the thefts are forcing gas station owners to crack down.
The number of gas drive-offs across the city has taken off the last few weeks. More gas stations are having customers pay before they pump.
"We have seen an increase in the number of cases reported to the Police Department probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 to 15 percent increase," says Lt. Dennis Lane of the Raleigh Police Department.
Owners are doing everything they can to protect their investment, but gas customers say paying then pumping is a pain.
"I definitely understand because people do drive off," says gas customer Deborah Lee. "They don't obey the law."
Gas customer Allen Matthews does not like the idea of having to pay before you pump.
"I don't think everyone should suffer for one or two people," Matthews says.
Gas clerks say thieves used to just steal a few gallons, but now, with higher prices, they fill up their tanks. Drive-offs carry a misdemeanor penalty.