Gas Stations Seeing Increased Thefts

Gas Stations Seeing Increased Thefts

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John Daley ReportingDrive-offs, drive-aways, gas skiffs -- there are several names for it but whatever you call it, gas station owners say they're seeing more of it -- people stealing gasoline.

With gas prices soaring gas stations say they're seeing more and more drive-offs. That means more stations are turning to pre-pay; and if you try to steal gas, you may end up with a private eye on your trail.

With gas prices skyrocketing something else is also on the rise,people filling up and driving off, without paying.

Kris Jacobsen, Manager, Holiday Oil: "I think a lot of it is due to the gas prices. People can't afford it, so they do whatever they can to get it."

Gas station owners and managers, like the folks at the locally-owned Holiday Oil, say it can cost an individual station roughly 200 to a thousand dollars a month.

Mike Wagstaff, President, Holiday Oil: "The drive off that used to be $20 now is $30, $40, so from that perspective, percentage wise, it costs us a lot more."

Kris Jacobsen, Manager, Holiday Oil: "You'll have $80, $100 drive-offs."

Mike Wagstaff: "Now, more and more, all walks of life."

Police, with many other crimes to chase down, typically don't investigate so stations are spending more on security and even litigation.

Kris Jacobsen, Manager, Holiday Oil: "The police really don't do a lot about it."

Mike Wagstaff: "We have a private investigator that will actually, if we have all the proper information, he'll actually go after that individual civilly and collect some penalties that way."

One impact is we can expect to see a lot more pre-pay at the pumps, which will prevent more drive-offs and prevent ripping off of the business owners. When drive-offs happen the additional costs get passed along to motorists through even higher prices.

Kris Jacobsen: "It's very frustrating. It kind of ruins your day actually, cause you just. For me personally, I don't like dishonest people. They're hard to deal with and it kind of takes the mood out of the day, if you're having a good day."

We can all expect that if the prices keep going up gas stations will take even tougher measures to stop the stealing -- pre-pay, more security cameras, more security guards, a push for tougher penalties for thieves who pump up and then drive off.

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